Marleen Wong

Overview of SSET

Posted on December 19, 2013

Marleen Wong (bio) provides a general description of the SSET program and its goals.

Support for Students Exposed to Trauma, which we call SSET, is an intervention that does not require a clinician who is trained to implement this teaching and learning curriculum. Many teachers have said that they think that their students have been affected by violence in the community, by traumatic events.

And while they may not reach the level of clinical post traumatic stress disorder, that the teachers recognize that many of their behaviors — whether it's aggressive, hostile behavior on the part of males, or withdrawn and depressed kinds of behaviors with females — that they want to be able to speak with their children, with the students in their class, and be able to identify the kinds of experiences that would normally cause a young person to begin to behave differently and to be behave in a manner which prevents them from learning.

So SSET, Support for Students Exposed to Trauma, was developed by Dr. [Lisa] Jaycox so that a teacher or a counselor with a bachelor's degree, or maybe even a graduate student from the school of social work, would be able to follow this lesson-by-lesson plan, to be able to open the discussion in a comfortable and safe way with a student about their possible experiences with violence in the community, and then be able to logically, through the 10 sessions, walk the student through education about how that changes behavior, how this extraordinary experience would change the way they think and feel, and then be able to teach them different ways of coping with overwhelming anxiety, avoidance of school, impaired relationships with their peers such as fighting or maybe just withdrawing from them.

And we have found that this is an important intervention that is just a step before perhaps doing a clinical screen for a child who does not respond to this at an early level and whose symptoms persist over a longer period of time. And that student might then need CBITS, the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools. So we see this as an important step in early intervention before the next level of treatment may take place.


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