Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education & Therapy
TARGET is an educational and therapeutic approach for the prevention and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). TARGET provides a seven-step sequence of skills - the FREEDOM Steps - that are designed to enable youth and adults to understand and gain control of trauma-related reactions triggered by current daily life stresses.
The goal in TARGET is to help youth and adults recognize their personal strengths using the FREEDOM Steps, and to use these skills consistently and purposefully when they experience stress reactions in their current lives. TARGET both empowers and challenges
What are the main features of the TARGET Curriculum?
TARGET teaches skills for managing psychological, relational, and work/school problems that result when a person experiences high levels of stress.
TARGET explains the difference between “normal stress” and “extreme stress” or trauma in non-technical language. Extreme stress causes “alarm” reactions in the brain that activate the fight/flight reaction in the body and short-circuits normal thinking processes.
TARGET shows how people of all ages who have experienced extreme stress can use seven steps to gain “FREEDOM” from extreme stress reactions. Each letter of the word freedom stands for a unique step that turns down the brain’s alarm. When the FREEDOM steps are learned and used often in day-to-day life, it is possible to regain control over stress and live effectively.
PTSD trauma survivors to become highly focused and mindful, to make good decisions, and to build healthy relationships.
TARGET explains post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms as the product of an ingrained, but reversible, biological change in the brain’s alarm and information processing systems and the body’s stress response systems.
Using graphics and simple language, TARGET describes the stress response system as an “alarm” in the brain that is triggered by trauma or extreme stress. When the brain becomes stuck in “alarm” mode a person cannot access the brain’s capacities for clear thinking, and therefore reacts to all types of current stressors as survival threats. This causes serious difficulties in their relationships and daily life activities that can be addressed by using the FREEDOM skill set.