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“Get the Lights On” Trauma Playbook to work with traumatized youth and families


Jamel needs help. He is part of a street gang, he sleeps in school, he’s failing his classes and he’s often absent from school. Jamel’s mom can’t pay the bills, his dad isn’t involved at all and CPS is about to remove Jamel and his siblings from the home.

A therapist is assigned to assist Jamel and his family but there has been little progress in nearly a year. Jamel’s therapist developed a plan and she wanted it to work but it wasn’t. Jamel and his mother wanted the plan to work too but it didn’t. 

Too often, in cases like Jamel’s, families are mislabeled as being “stuck” or noncompliant when they don’t follow through with the plans set during therapy sessions. However, in many cases, the family wants to follow through but the right plan and supports aren’t in place. This explanation is especially true when dealing with traumatized youth and their families.

A trauma playbook, such as “Get the Lights On: Basic Needs Before Psychological Needs”, from, provides a step by step plan giving therapists the tools needed to help the traumatized child and family.  By using the Family Systems Trauma (FST) approach outlined in the playbook and in Treating the Traumatized Child: A Step-by-Step Family Systems Approach (Sells & Sauder, 2017), therapists and counselors learn to use a trauma-informed model to address the most pressing needs of the family.

To see the “Get the Lights On” trauma playbook and find out more about how the FST approach can help, visit

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