Therapeutic Residential Care

Intentional practice is an approach and method to strengthen the best-practice implementation of therapeutic residential care, and deliver stronger outcomes for children, young people and the entire care community.

Its application and utility is captured in this article:

Strengthening Program Design and Implementation at the “System” Level

Intentional practice is an approach and set of methods to strengthen the implementation of trauma-informed science into action.

Intentional practice asks managers, leaders and program developers the following critical questions in the design and implementation of their therapeutic residential care program (Raymond, 2019)

  • What is the intent of our service model or program?
  • Are we bringing high levels of mindful awareness to the needs and experiences of children, the intent or purpose of our work, the outcomes we are working towards, and how we are working towards those outcomes?
  • Do we have systems and methods to activate this awareness within our program and across our staff teams within moment-to-moment practice?
  • What are the active ingredients or core therapeutic or trauma-informed intervention components of our service delivery? Can all of our staff articulate the intent or purpose of each component, and how do individual therapeutic components relate and interface with each other?
  • Do we have a cohesive practice philosophy or intent that underpins our entire program or therapeutic components?
  • Are we bringing enough awareness and energy to ‘growth’ as an intent or practice philosophy within our service delivery? Or are we overly preoccupied with ‘managing’ child behavior or risk within our service?
  • Do we have a method to operationalise our milieu-based model (e.g, Sanctuary Model) into moment-to-moment practice (or in a manner that staff can operationalise into the next interaction with a child, as personalised to a child’s individual needs and context)?

Best Practice Features

Intentional practice supports the view that ‘best-practice’ residential care services can clearly articulate:

  • Their core therapeutic components
  • The relationships between components
  • How these components are supported by a consistent growth-focused practice philosophy.

The above article argues that ‘best-practice’ therapeutic residential care programs include the following five components:

  1. Growth and risk focused procedures and systems.
  2. Foundational therapeutic principles (setting conditions)
  3. Moment-to-moment practice and growth planning.
  4. Crisis management.
  5. Coaching and reflective practices.

A case example is shown in the following video. These best-practice features are embedded in the model. This represents a ‘grass-roots’ or ‘contextualised’ therapeutic residential care program model.

Personalised Growth Planning and “Moment-To-Moment” Trauma-Responsive Practice.

Intentional practice is an approach and set of methods to operationalise (or make practical) personalised growth planning that responds to the unique needs and context of individual young people. It also operationalises moment-to-moment support, caregiving or trauma-informed practice. In other words, how trauma-informed science can be personalised to a child through each and every interaction.

It asks ‘caregivers’ and ‘support workers’ to

  • Bring mindful awareness to everything they do, including the needs and contexts (e.g., trauma, developmental) of young people, the intent of their support, and how they are actioning this through their scripts and strategies.
  • Bring ongoing awareness to the child’s historical and current context.
  • ‘Respond to a child’s needs’, rather than react to a child’s surface behaviours.
  • Develop a shared ‘growth intent’ with their colleagues, and care teams, to support and grow children.
  • To bring a ‘growth intent’ to each and every interaction with a child, and ensure this is visible in their minds and actions (even in crisis).
  • To intentionally deliver social-emotional learning, wellbeing and resilience content for children and young people.
  • Develop personalised plans ‘for’ and ‘with’ young people, and in a manner that can be operationalised or actioned in moment-to-moment caregiving or support.
  • Apply intentional caregiving and support processes.

Across Australia, LBI Foundation have exclusive rights to the IMPACT Program as a competency-based method to equip and empower caregivers and care communities to deliver these features, and build high impact wellbeing and trauma-responsive care communities. For additional information: