History & Treatment Philosophy
The Attachment and Trauma Institute was established in 2006 in response to the number of children that were repeating through the various systems of care here in Virginia with limited successful outcomes after treatment. ATI pioneered the first counseling agency with a concentrated training in Understanding Trauma and Effective Treatment Strategies for improving outcomes with at-risk youth. A team of over thirty counselors currently support the mission of ATI in their effort to provide trauma-informed counseling services in the greater central Virginia region. The Attachment and Trauma Institute is a counseling agency committed to providing individuals and families with the highest quality trauma informed mental healthcare.
Our mission is to help children, families and adults experience healing in their lives and relationships so past painful events don’t turn into lifelong problems.
The Attachment and Trauma Institute promotes a system that recognizes, understands, and appropriately responds to trauma and its effects on children, families and adults. We recognize that traumatic experiences can impair a child’s ability to function each day in the following ways: brain development, attachment patterns, emotional regulation, behavioral capacity, learning and school performance, self concept, and social skills. And survivors of childhood trauma generally experience a common set of problems as adults when they do not receive effective treatment (www.acestudy.org).
The Attachment and Trauma Institute prepares counselors to effectively treat trauma through education including:
- Ethical Considerations in Treatment of Children and Adults who have Experienced Trauma
- Understanding Child and Adult Traumatic Stress and the Effects on the Brain
- Trauma and the Impact Upon the Body
- Attachment Formation and Repair
We believe that teaching concepts and theory about trauma is only part of developing essential clinical skills for counselors. The other major component is the development of the applied practical counseling provided by counselors who understand the necessity of their own regulatory ability; their ability to stay calm when working with at risk clients.
The goals of trauma-focused counseling include:
- Restoration of safety following a traumatic event(s)
- Relief from symptoms and post traumatic behaviors
- Correction of misunderstanding and self-blame
- Providing support and skills to parents to cope effectively with their own emotional distress and optimally respond to their child
Children and adults who experience traumatic events and receive trauma treatment have:
- Higher cognitive functioning
- Better behavioral and emotional health outcomes
- Fewer suicidal thoughts and prevention of suicide attempts
- Reduced symptoms of PTSD and depression
Traumatic experiences and chronic high states of stress impact an individual in varying ways depending on their chronological and developmental stage. Without trauma informed counseling and support the effects of trauma and high stress patterning lead to maladaptive behaviors, coping, and possible life long problems.
The Attachment and Trauma Institute understands that overwhelming, painful and terrifying events, especially when experienced in childhood set an individual on a course in life.