About This Program
Target Population: At-risk and adjudicated youth, ages 12-17, with a history of trauma and/or loss
For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 17
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 12 – 17
The SITCAP-ART program is a comprehensive trauma intervention program, modified from the original Structured Sensory Intervention for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents (SITCAP) program initially researched in 2001. SITCAP-ART is designed specifically for at-risk and adjudicated youth. SITCAP-ART integrates cognitive strategies with sensory/implicit strategies. When memory cannot be linked linguistically in a contextual framework, it remains at the symbolic level for which there are no words to describe. To retrieve that memory so it can be encoded, given a language, and then integrated into consciousness, it must be retrieved and externalized in its symbolic perceptual (iconic) form. SITCAP-ART, which is followed by cognitive or explicit strategies, supports moving from victim to survivor thinking allowing changes in negative behaviors (aggressive and rule-breaking behavior) and making adolescents more resilient to future traumas.
The program representative did not provide information about the program’s goals.
The essential components of SITCAP-ART include:
- Provides empowerment, sense of safety and reduces anxiety
- Identifies process and what to expect through use of structuring statements
- Provides a booklet, “A Trauma is Like No Other Experience” in the program component
- Debriefing Session: Each adolescent is scheduled for an individual, one-hour debriefing session prior to beginning the group process.
- Alleviates need for adolescents to reveal difficult details in the group setting
- Normalizes adolescent’s experience
- Provides an opportunity through the use of specific questions to redirect the adolescent’s understanding of the impact that this experience has had on their life and how this intervention process will help bring the adolescent relief from the trauma specific symptoms
- Focus on Themes, not Behavior:
- Attempts to treat the sensory experiences of trauma that fuel and drive the adolescent’s behavior rather than treat the behavior itself
- Intervener as Witness vs. Clinician:
- Must be involved in the adolescent’s telling of their experience by being curious about all that happened
- Must be very concrete and literal in response to all the elements of the experience, its details and the visual representations provided by the adolescent
- Must not analyze the adolescent
- Must see how the victim now views himself and the world around him following the trauma
- Drawing/Sensory Component:
- Experience of trauma is stored in implicit memory and is transcribed into iconic representations/visualizations
- Iconic symbolization is process of giving one's experience a visual identity; images are created to contain all the elements of that experience - what happened, our emotional reactions to it, the horror and terror of the experience
- Drawings provide a representation of those “iconic” symbols that implicitly define what that experience was like for the adolescent; how that adolescent now views themselves and those around them
- Drawing becomes a vehicle for communicating and externalizing what that experience was like
- Trauma-Specific Questions and Details:
- Trauma-specific questions designed to help in the telling of the story and the provision of those details that allow intervener witnesses to better understand what the experience has been like for the adolescent
- Details provide a sense of control as well as sense of relief
- Details also provide information that helps to make sense out of what happened and may still be happening with the adolescent
- Cognitive Reframing:
- Scripted in SITCAP-ART to insure that the victim is provided a “survivors” way of making sense of their trauma experiences
- Helps move participants from “victim thinking” to “survivor thinking” which leads to empowerment, choice, and active involvement in their own healing process and a renewed sense of safety and hope
- Parent Component:
- Learning about trauma helps them to more adequately respond to the adolescent
- Helps primary caregivers who themselves have been traumatized just by educating them about trauma
- Group Treatment: Can be delivered in a group of 6 participants
SITCAP-ART directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:
- All problems and symptoms that fall under the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnostic sub-categories of re-experiening, avoidance and arousal
SITCAP-ART directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:
- Parent of an adolescent experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to exposure to violent or nonviolent trauma situations
One hour-long session per week
Eight to Ten weeks in length
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Outpatient Clinic
- Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
- Group or Residential Care
- School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)
This program does not include a homework component.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- One facilitator
- Program manual and workbook
- 8.5"x11" white paper
- Colored pencils
- Chairs and tables
Education and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
Intervener: Minimum two (2) day TLC Institute training required, Minimum 1 year group experience with adjudicated adolescents, Preferred Master's Level Education
Supervisor: Supervision provided by Master's Level TLC Institute trained professional
Education and Training Resources
There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.
- Dr. William Steele
phone: (877) 306-5256
- Dr. Caelan Soma
phone: (800) 837-5591
Training is obtained:
On-site or via TLC Institute national training conferences
Number of days/hours:
3 to 5 days of training
There currently are additional qualified resources for training:
- Margaret Delillo-Storey – Multi-County Juvenile Attention Center
North Canton, OH
- Jacqueline Jacobs – Collaborations for Resiliency in Children
Forsyth and Pickens County, GA
There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for SITCAP-ART.
Formal Support for Implementation
The program representative did not provide information about formal support for implementation of SITCAP-ART.
The program representative did not provide information about fidelity measures of SITCAP-ART.
Implementation Guides or Manuals
The program representative did not provide information about implementation guides or manuals for SITCAP-ART.
Research on How to Implement the Program
The program representative did not provide information about research conducted on how to implement SITCAP-ART.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being
Raider, M. C., Steele, W., Delillo-Storey, M., Jacobs, J., & Kuban, C. (2008). Structured sensory therapy (SITCAP-ART) for traumatized adjudicated adolescents in residential treatment. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 25(2), 167-185.
Type of Study:
Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 20
- Age — Two-thirds of participants were between 16 and 17 years
- Race/Ethnicity — 85% Caucasian
- Gender — 11 Male and 9 Female
- Status — Participants were youth with multiple trauma experiences identified by clinicians.
(To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the efficacy of the Structured Sensory Therapy (SITCAP-ART) program on traumatized adolescents in residential treatment. Youth were randomly assigned to receive therapy using SITCAP-ART, or to a wait-list control group. The youth were assessed at the beginning of the study using the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC-A), the Youth Self Report (YSR), and the Child and Adolescent Questionnaire (CAQ). Both the treatment and control groups completed these three measures again at the end of the intervention. Control group youth reported no significant changes in trauma symptoms and related behaviors over the time period covered by the study as measured by any of the three scales. Youth receiving SITCAP-ART showed significant improvement in all areas addressed by the TSCC-A, except Depression and Dissociation Fantasy. They also improved on all subscales of the CAQ and all subscales of the YSR, except Withdrawn/Depressed and Somatic Complaints. Limitations include small sample, and lack of long-term follow-up.
Length of postintervention follow-up: None.
Jacobs, J., & Steele, W. (2007). Structured sensory intervention for traumatized children, adolescents and parents – At-risk adjudicated adolescent treatment program (SITCAP-ART). Grosse Pointe Woods, MI: TLC Institute.
Steele, W., & Raider, M. (2009). Structured sensory interventions for children, adolescents and parents (SITCAP). New York, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2017
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2019
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2008