The Intergenerational Trauma Treatment Model (ITTM)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Children ages 3-18 and their parents/caregivers burdened by the impact, symptoms and behaviors of traumatic events or unacceptable living conditions

For children/adolescents ages: 3 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 3 – 18

Brief Description

ITTM targets and treats not only the child's complex trauma, but the caregiver's unresolved childhood trauma history. When a family is impacted by trauma, the child-adult relationship is also threatened. Caregivers parenting a traumatized child frequently have unresolved trauma themselves and are frequently clinically depressed which makes it difficult for them to be emotionally available to their hurting child. Their distress is often unintentionally acted out on the child whose misbehavior is "triggering" the caregiver's own history of victimization.

The majority of families referred to ITTM are “at risk,” financially vulnerable, or receiving social assistance. The intrinsic motivation levels, productivity and employability are frequently compromised. Many of the children’s caregivers are struggling in core domains such as school, social arenas, and within their own families. Others are early year’s families, families with very young parents, or children no longer living with their family of origin.

ITTM is designed to treat the unresolved trauma impact from childhood in parents & other caregivers prior to engaging the child in treatment (aged 3-18 years). The caregiver can include any adult with long-term involvement with the child. In effect, ITTM treats two generations at once, increasing the functioning of both child and parent.

The model is consistent with recommendations of the Complex Trauma Working Committee and provides clinicians with a manual- phase-based method of reaching treatment goals. The model includes activities to address:

  • Attachment and emotional attunement issues between child and caregiver
  • Regulation of caregiver and child affect
  • Safe expression and processing of trauma experiences
  • The development of parent competency and self-efficacy

Psycho-educational, cognitive-behavioral and attachment-informed strategies of intervention are employed. ITTM also focuses on the primacy of parents to children’s change and on directly addressing the intergenerational nature of trauma.

Program Goals:

The goals of The Intergenerational Trauma Treatment Model (ITTM) are:

  • Eliminate waitlists
  • Directly address caregivers’ traumatic experiences and the resulting impact on the parent-child relationship and the strength of that relationship
  • Resolve caregivers’ unresolved traumatic impact from childhood which is critical to achieving sustained changes in children’s emotional and behavior symptoms
  • Significantly reduce emotional and behavioral symptoms so that stronger bonds to caregiver will occur in children
  • Interrupt the intergenerational transmission of trauma which is a key mechanism of change
  • Engage and treat the caregiver which should result in greater changes in emotional dysregulation, efficacy, empathy, and effectiveness
  • Ensure a good cross section of professionals who provide treatment services to families are trained in the ITTM program, so that it can be delivered frequently and in centers that are most accessible to the parents/caregivers who make referrals
  • Ensure referrals are facilitated as simply as possible for referring families

Contact Information

Dr. Valerie Copping
Agency/Affiliation: The International Trauma Training Academy & The Intergenerational Trauma Treatment Model
Phone: (519) 830-7272

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2013

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2012