toddler in therapy session

Understanding the SITCAP® Model: A Guide to Trauma and Resilience

Key Points:
    • Brain science supports the efficacy of Starr’s Clinical Foundations of Trauma and Resilience and SITCAP® model in addressing trauma and fostering resilience.
    • The SITCAP® model is accessible to various professionals, not just licensed mental health practitioners, facilitating wider implementation.
    • Research highlights trauma as a public health crisis but identifies protective factors and interventions that can mitigate its impact.

Sensory Interventions: Key to Trauma and Resilience

Research on the impact of toxic stress, trauma, and resilience continues to support the core principles and components of Starr’s Clinical Foundations of Trauma and Resilience certification and Structured Sensory Interventions (SITCAP) model, reinforcing its practice-based evidence status. Childhood resilience research, the polyvagal theory, breakthroughs in the study of epigenetics, insights from the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) direct practice with at-risk and traumatized youth in various settings, feedback from Certified Trauma and Resilience Specialists using the SITCAP® model programs, and the significance of mind-body skills for emotional awareness and regulation continue to inform and shape our many SITCAP® model programs and interventions.

Research and Community Needs

Plentiful research supports the connection between trauma, toxic stress, and negative implications for emotional, behavioral, academic, and physical health. One out of every four children experiencing trauma and even more living with circumstances of toxic stress, such as food insecurity, affirms trauma as a public health crisis. The coronavirus pandemic further exacerbated the situation, affecting children, parents, and caregivers worldwide. In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, a concern also recognized by the Children’s Hospital Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Biden Administration. However, research on protective factors promoting resilience offers hope that practitioners can facilitate healing in challenging situations.

The Need for Practical Interventions

Given the significant shortage of licensed mental health practitioners to meet the mental health needs of children and adults, every child-caring adult must have access to effective, short-term intervention tools to address trauma and build resilience. The SITCAP® model programs and intervention tools provide a viable solution. Starr’s Trauma and Resilience Specialist certifications are recommended for all wishing to use and implement the SITCAP® model program and interventions, aiding a broader range of professionals and families in need.

Program Availability and Implementation

SITCAP® model programs and interventions are now accessible for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary, middle, and high school children, and their parents and caregivers. These interventions, practical for use in individual and group settings, are easy to learn. All programs and interventions are manualized and scripted, ensuring higher practice fidelity and supporting implementation and evaluation.

Professional Development Opportunities

Clinical Foundations of Trauma and Resilience offers an in-depth review of trauma’s impact on the brain and nervous system, including the polyvagal theory and the science of resilience. It provides a comprehensive look at the SITCAP® model’s core principles, components, and case examples of implementation, encouraging professionals to become Certified Trauma and Resilience Specialists and deepen their understanding of trauma’s impact on children along with gaining practical tools for support.

Ready to enhance your skills in trauma-informed care? Become a Certified Trauma and Resilience Specialist to deepen your understanding of trauma’s impact on children and gain practical tools for effective support. Our certification equips professionals like social workers, therapists, healthcare providers, and others working with children to broaden their expertise in trauma-informed practices.


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Masten, A. S., Narayan, A. J., & Wright, M. O. D. (2023). Resilience processes in development: Multisystem integration emerging from four waves of research. In Handbook of Resilience in Children (pp. 19-46). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Panchal, U., Salazar de Pablo, G., Franco, M., Moreno, C., Parellada, M., Arango, C., & Fusar-Poli, P. (2023). The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on child and adolescent mental health: systematic review. European child & adolescent psychiatry32(7), 1151-1177.

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Soma, C., Sloan, J., Garipey, S., Mueller, G., Gerlach, R., Sanders-Cobb, H., & Mason, D. (2021). STARR: Sensory-based trauma assessment and intervention to restore resilience. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy20 (3), 277-289.

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By Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW

Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW, Chief Clinical Officer, oversees all clinical operations and research at Starr Commonwealth. Dr. Soma provides trauma assessment and trauma-informed, resilience-focused intervention for youth utilizing evidence-based practices, including Starr’s SITCAP© model programs.

About Starr Commonwealth

Starr Commonwealth is dedicated to the mission to lead with courage to create positive experiences so that all children, families, and communities flourish. We specialize in residential, community-based, educational, and professional training programs that build on the strengths of children, adults, and families in communities around the world. To schedule a training or consultation, please contact or call 800-837-5591.