1. Is TARGET used only in a group?
The FREEDOM skill set also can be taught in individual counseling, therapy, or case management. Many clinicians and case managers prepare clients for participation in a TARGET group by helping the client learn and practice the FREEDOM skills on a one-to-one basis. Other clinicians use the skills and handouts in individual treatment sessions to augment their other approaches to counseling, therapy, or case management.
2. Is TARGET adaptable?
TARGET has been adapted in many ways , in addition to the different versions that are described in the "About TARGET" section of this website :
a) To serve as the guide and materials for groups that are not specifically focused on trauma recovery, such as anger management, anxiety/stress management, pain management, interpersonal skills, orientation for new clients, and general support groups.
b) As an initial orientation for new clients or for ongoing clients who have been working on other psychological or psychiatric problems (such as depression or addiction) and either request or appear to need help with PTSD.
c) In open-ended groups where the participants change from session to session, such as in a partial hospital or inpatient mental health program where clients only stay in the program for a few days or weeks. (In this case, TARGET group leaders usually teach the basic information about stress and the body's alarm system and the focusing skills in each group session so that new members get a good introduction and continuing members get this knowledge and these skills reinforced. To keep sessions from being repetitive, these sessions usually involve group members in discussing current stressful situations and using one or two relevant FREEDOM skills to help the whole group develop new ways of understanding and managing these situations).
d) As a knowledge base and set of skills for providers to use to deal with their own stress and vicarious trauma.
e) As a framework and set of skills for providers to use to augment other approaches to crisis intervention.
3. Are there standard inclusion/exclusion criteria for TARGET groups?
There are no standard inclusion/exclusion criteria for TARGET. If a client needs greater stabilization than TARGET alone can offer, such as detoxification or psychiatric intervention to respond to acute self-harm, suicidality, or substance use relapse, then treatment providers should address those issues to ensure the client's safety and stability before beginning TARGET group or individual therapy. TARGET's concepts of the body alarm system and skills for focusing can be very used or reinforced in crisis interventions, as noted in question #3.
Most TARGET groups are done either with women (or girls) or men (or boys), but not with both members of both genders. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but tends to be the best approach initially because by doing gender-separate groups it is possible to both provide a safe place for group members who may have experienced trauma perpetrated by members of the other gender and to help group members work on gender-specific issues in a sensitive manner.