LSCI is trauma-informed care in action! Alex Cameron, Director of Clinical Services, Pressley Ridge
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Therapeutic Practices Whitepaper (PDF)

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LSCI in Therapeutic Practice, Residential Treatment Centers (RTC) & Group Care Settings

Therapeutic Practice

In the classic book, When We Deal With Children (Redl &Wineman, 1966) LSCI is described as “the clinical exploitation of life events.” Authors Fritz Redl & David Wineman go on to describe the purpose of LSCI as, “making use of momentary life experiences in order to draw out of [youth] something that might be of use for long-range therapeutic goals.” Mark Freado, Director of Growing Edge Training and co-author of The Art of Kid Whispering: Reaching the Inside Kid, calls LSCI “a very versatile application that can be adapted to a variety of therapeutic settings and circumstances with young people in need of adults who can be present, attentive, and understanding” (personal communication, July 20, 2020).

Freado explains that LSCI is an excellent process for engaging in a reciprocal dialogue that helps a young person understand and work through problems. Effective LSCI interventions not only address immediate challenges in a youth’s life, but also reveal chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors. Freado says that it is the recognition of these patterns that sets the stage for positive therapeutic engagement during counseling sessions. Such counseling can take place in the day-to-day functioning of a school, residential, or other program settings, as well as through more formal counseling settings.

Residential Treatment Centers (RTC) & Group Care Settings

James Freeman, Director of Training at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families in California, says that those who work alongside young people in residential or group care settings can see the benefit of both the conceptual and practical elements of LSCI on a daily basis (personal communication, Mar 19, 2020.) He explains that “since most youth are placed in a residential or group care setting to get more help than is available at home, the conceptual elements of LSCI can get the adults (and even peers) aligned with understanding the dynamics of conflict and importance of being heard. The practical elements, most notably the language of insight questions, and social-emotional skills training allows for repeated experience and practice with new ways of thinking and interacting.”

Freeman also notes that the intensity of residential care, in which multiple adults and youth live out their days together provides daily, if not hourly or minute-by-minute opportunity, for adults to learn more about a young person’s perspective or a youth and to be present with them in trying out a new skill in a safe and supported way.

Lastly, Freeman points out that LSCI supports new workers with tangible ‘steps’ of the conflict cycle and a consistent framework for responding to certain behaviors as they focus (rightly so) on the foundation of safety and establishing relationships. At the same time, it allows more experienced workers opportunity to lean more into their relational skills as they trust the skills they’ve gained to navigate conflict and look beyond surface behaviors.