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Bringing ARC to Life at CGE

We know that trauma impacts development; CGE uses the ARC model (Attachment, Regulation, Competency) as an integral part of our Trauma C.A.R.E model. Developed by Margaret Blaustein and Christine Kinniburgh, ARC is a framework designed for intervention with youth and families who have experienced complex trauma. Rich in detail, ARC consists of eight building blocks atop a foundation of Engagement, Education and Routines and Rhythms. Each block represents an aspect of attachment, regulation and competency, with subskills designed to build toward the ultimate goal of trauma experience integration. Concepts are woven throughout our daily interactions with the people we serve; modeling the skills is an important part of creating an environment of change and healing.

Dr. Debbie Ruisard brought this approach to CGE and led in the creation of a New Jersey ARC consortium, training other agencies along with our staff under the auspices of grant from the NCTSN (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network).


CGE’s Jenn Unger, Carolyn Flynn, Leigh Rasmussen and Ellen Purtell were in the initial learning cohort and realized that to fully explain and embed a unique and comprehensive model like ARC at CGE, they needed a creative approach to bring the model to life and include the entire agency team. The first step was to involve program leadership in the planning of monthly virtual trainings; that group meets regularly to consult and develop an ongoing series of all-staff “Bringing ARC To Life” Zooms. We now have lively monthly training calls with activities and breakout groups facilitated by the leaders. Staff from all our teams join us, and the sessions are fun and informative for everyone.

Jenn Unger—manager of our Adult Residential program, and CGE’s ARC leader—made the following observations about the effort to not only teach the concepts of an intricate model, but to bring it to life and have it fully take root throughout the organization. “The ARC Model offers so much knowledge and practical skills to engage people in the work and foster their resiliency.” Jenn noted how amazing it is to observe the “Aha” moments in action! We join in her celebration of being able to partner with our clients as they continue in this nuanced relational work to make gradual progress towards their life worth living.

Jennifer Unger
Jennifer Unger, Program Manager of our Adult Residential holding a client’s newborn.

Interested in learning more about ARC? Visit NCTSN’s website.