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Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education & Therapy

TARGET©: an Evidence-based Model for Overcoming Stress and Healing Trauma 

Chronic stress and trauma undermine the safety, health, relationships, and productivity of tens of millions of people every year, at a cost of billions of dollars annually and countless suffering. 

Chronic stress and traumatic events cost employers, schools, and society billions of dollars each year and threaten the health of a majority of youth and adults. Employers and agencies across health care, behavioral health, juvenile justice, child welfare, and educational systems in both the public and private sector are increasingly challenged to prepare their workforce to provide the best possible stress management and trauma-informed services. 

Through an exclusive license, ATS Pro provides a unique, practical, and effective program for stress management and trauma-informed services through TARGET©, which stands for Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy. 

As the name suggests, TARGET is a guide for educating people about how chronic stress and trauma impacts their lives, and for preparing people who work with adults, youth, and their families to provide high-fidelity trauma and stress management. 

Aside from the recognized efficacy of TARGET, this evidence-based approach — twenty years in clinical development — is distinguished in the industry for comprehensive training and quality assurance practices. The thoroughness of our process for developing proficiency and integrating the model into the entire program ensures staff at agencies have the knowledge and skills to address the effects of psychological trauma and chronic stress in an efficient and professional way. 

TARGET Model for Understanding Stress and Trauma

The brain science behind TARGET.

TARGET is based on the neurobiology of the brain — specifically the three areas of the brain that make up the stress response system. It explains chronic stress and trauma symptoms as the product of an ingrained, but reversible, biological change in the brain’s alarm, memory, and thinking centers, and the body’s stress response system.


When the brain becomes stuck in alarm mode as a result of trauma or extreme stress, a person cannot access the brain’s capacities for clear thinking and therefore reacts to all types of current stressors as survival threats, which causes serious difficulties in their relationships and daily life activities. The benefits of TARGET have been demonstrated in clinical trials (view publications).

Watch this important video highlighting a program utilizing the TARGET framework as their treatment model:

San Diego County Probation Department created a 20-bed Trauma Responsive Unit (TRU) in Juvenile Hall to provide evidence-based treatment to youth impacted by traumatic experiences. The unit is the first of its kind to operate within a Juvenile institution in California.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

If people are emotionally regulated, they
are capable of making good choices.

About Julian Ford

Dr. Julian Ford

TARGET was developed by Julian Ford, PhD, a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center. Dr. Ford conducts assessment, treatment, and research with adults, youth, and families who are recovering from chronic stress and trauma.


He developed TARGET with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (2001-2006) and has trained more than 500 mental health and addiction treatment agencies, healthcare organizations, school systems, juvenile justice and child welfare systems, violence prevention programs, and business organizations internationally.

Dr. Ford has published more than 125 peer-reviewed scientific and clinical reports and has edited or authored several recent books, including Hijacked by Your Brain: How to Free Yourself When Stress Takes Over.

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