Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A diagnosis of PTSD often occurs when people have experienced chronic trauma, such as first responders, or have a past history of trauma. In vivo mastery involves gradually building up to or mastering the end point through mastering a series of smaller steps.. Since in vivo mastery typically takes several weeks to complete and also because the child’s adaptive functioning is significantly impacted, the therapist usually begins in vivo mastery during the TF-CBT stabilization skills phase. Since relaxation cbt interventions for substance abuse and other TF-CBT stabilization skills are needed to help the child (and often the parent) to tolerate the intermediate steps in the fear hierarchy, the therapist often provides psychoeducation, parenting skills and relaxation skills prior to initiating the in vivo mastery plan. After identifying the child’s preferred affective modulation strategies, the therapist then educates, practices, and role plays with the parents about how they can support the child in implementing these skills.

Therefore, the results of this review’s studies cannot provide a general conclusion about comparisons to alternative interventions. However, the majority of the programs only provides immediate needs such as food, shelter and other necessities even though trauma is the largest reported mental health issue among the refugees, who are as diverse in their mental health needs as any other population (Anani, 2013; Hilado & Lundy, 2018). There are clearly few evidence-based interventions, and TF-CBT is one of the interventions that needs further investigation to determine its effectiveness on the post resettlement care of refugee children and other displaced persons coming from non-Western countries (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). There has been a consensus among researchers that refugee children require particular assistance, but several obstacles hamper the delivery of psycho-social support (Nocon et al., 2017). Refugee families may also be reluctant to seek mental health support due to stress they might have experienced in settling into a new country (World Health Organization, 2018). These challenges set refugee children apart from the mainstream community and stifle their overall adjustment and development.

Strongly Recommended Treatments

Research has shown that practicing safety skills in role plays improves children’s learning of those skills and that the involvement of caregivers enhances children’s ability to retain and use these skills (e.g. Deblinger, Stauffer, & Steer, 2001; Finkelhor, Asdigian, & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1995). Similarly, it is helpful to discuss affect expression and modulation with caregivers, who are encouraged to model these skills. Caregivers can share appropriate feelings with their children (e.g. frustration at work) and encourage young children’s sharing of feelings by using reflective listening and praise when they use feeling words.

  • Trauma refers to the psychological and emotional response to distressing or life-threatening experiences that are beyond an individual’s ability to cope with or process.
  • The remembered trauma can be any type of trauma, including multiple traumas or complex trauma.
  • A 2017 study found that veterans who participated in trauma management therapy saw a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms like anger, guilt, depression, difficulty sleeping, and social isolation.
  • Any adult who has experienced a traumatic event, currently has mental health symptoms, or has concerns about the well-being of a child can seek help by speaking with a mental health professional.

Have you tried Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy before, as a practitioner or a patient? Getting over the tendency to avoid situations, people, places, and even thoughts that remind the client of the trauma is a very important step in overcoming trauma and growing from the experience. This handout is a great first step toward helping you or your client understand what trauma is, how it happens, and how it can affect your moods, thoughts, and feelings. Finally, the child should take what they have produced so far and wrap it all up and create a seamless narrative, with the option of adding a final paragraph about how they feel now, what they have learned, and if they have grown from the experience. For example, psychoanalysis was applied heavily during the aftermath of World Wars I and II, helping “shell shocked” veterans who were suffering from what we now understand as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD (APsaA, 2018). Much of what we have learned about trauma and common responses to it comes from the work of psychoanalysts and researchers of trauma and psychoanalysis.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

TF-CBT is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. It is a components-based treatment model that incorporates trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles and techniques. TF-CBT has proved successful with children and adolescents (ages 3 to 18) who have significant emotional problems (e.g., symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, fear, anxiety, or depression) related to traumatic life events.