Therapy/ Intervention Considerations

Focus on ways to relax and regulate body

  • Find ways to help the youth relax and regulate their body. These interventions can include art, drama, sports, martial arts, music therapy, equine therapy, occupational therapy etc.
  • Consider creating a calming toolkit that includes simple self-regulation options. This would be a personalized self-care or resiliency toolkit/checklist that the youth carries with them or post the checklist somewhere prominent (bathroom mirror). It could include words or pictures of the calming things that they prefer. For example:
    • Words like “I am here. I am safe. I am okay right now.”
    • A simple breath awareness technique like exhaling through pursed lips.
    • Physical activity and exercise.
    This would be something to practice with frequency. Repetition is key, so that these techniques are available in the “hot moment.”
  • If the youth needs sensory regulation, consider prioritizing physical activity and exercise be a part of the daily routine. Include activities that provide proprioceptive input that can be calming and organizing to the sensory system. This includes running, jumping, pushing , pulling, yoga, or other types of ‘heavy work’. Swinging, spinning or other vestibular input should only be directed by the youth and never imposed by others as it can overwhelm the sensory system.


Therapy Resources:


Trauma-informed strength-based approach in therapy

  • Consider a trauma-informed strength-based approach in therapy to increase the youth’s social, problem solving, and regulation skills.
  • Using a trauma-informed approach is important for youth who have past traumas and have significant difficulty with mood and behavioral regulation.


Trauma-informed experiential play therapy

  • Consider trauma-informed experiential play therapy to increase social, problem solving, and regulation skills.
  • It may also be helpful to use trauma-informed experiential family therapy to increase engagement and work on problem solving, coping, and social skills in the home.


Trauma-informed family therapy

  • If traumatic events have occurred with the youth in the home, consider trauma-informed family therapy as part of the youth’s treatment plan.


Group therapy for youth

  • If the youth has a history of problems with peers, consider having youth participate in group therapy to increase problem solving, social, and mood management skills.


Mental Health Resources:


Service and Care Coordination Resources