What Is Therapeutic Staff Support?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2019
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Therapeutic staff support refers to workers serving on a team to treat a child with serious emotional problems leading to inappropriate behavior. These children might act disruptively in school, at home, or in public areas. Therapeutic staff support professionals follow individual treatment plans devised by other mental health experts to intervene and change a child’s negative actions. It is considered intensive therapy for children with serious emotional stress.

Behavioral specialists typically supervise the work done by staff support, including direct observation of interactions with the disturbed child. The specialist usually evaluates emotional problems and situations that trigger unwanted behavior. He or she might discover what motivates the youngster to misbehave at home, in school, or in the community. Therapeutic staff support carries out the treatment plan developed by the behavioral specialist, working one-on-one with the child.

Support staff might respond in a crisis situation to defuse an emotional outburst. Therapeutic staff support uses techniques to calm the child, working in collaboration with the family and school staff. If a child’s behavior is deemed dangerous, passive restraining mechanisms might be employed. Support workers typically offer emotional support to the child’s parents to help them cope.


A team made up of doctors, social workers, school personnel, and family might practice techniques such as role-playing and behavior modification methods. Therapeutic staff support workers focus on helping a child identify inappropriate actions and teach ways to change negative behavior. The support team might devise activities to create more structure in the youngster’s life as part of his or her treatment.

Support staff usually document all events and keep track of the child’s progress. They typically attend meetings with other professionals or agencies to discuss the effectiveness of the treatment plan. Most therapeutic staff support employees hold a bachelor’s degree in human services or a related field. Experience working for the juvenile justice system or a public health agency devoted to children might be required.

Staff workers employed by schools might deal with children diagnosed with learning disabilities. These children might experience trouble learning because of behavioral issues. Support personnel typically educate other school employees about the child’s treatment plan, which might include encouraging participation in school activities. Therapeutic staff support commonly incorporates the child’s educational plan into the behavioral plan.

These support workers might accompany a child to a day-care center, school, or social activities. They are available to immediately intervene when unacceptable behavior occurs, and use each situation as a teaching tool. Intervention might include showing the child a better way to cope with frustration without erupting into anger or inappropriate actions.


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