In the health care field-similar to those used in pharmacotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy was the first form of psychotherapy tested according to the most stringent criteria. CBT helps adolescents and children overcome traumatic events.
Currently, TF-CBT is practiced globally by mental health organizations. Moreover, society faces a serious problem with childhood trauma. Over two-thirds of American adolescents and adults experience at least one trauma. At the same time, 33% of children experience multiple traumas before they reach adulthood.
The fact is, CBT primarily focuses on the link among thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and notes how changes in one realm may alter other realms. It also focuses on symptoms and problems. A typical CBT treatment program lasts 12-16 sessions in either a group or individual format.
Let’s dive into various techniques used by therapists to assist in the reduction of symptoms and improvement of functioning.
This CBT technique primarily focuses on reversing the psychological changes that have occurred within a traumatized child. Relaxation techniques are useful in reducing depression and anxiety, the volumes and scores of edema in patients suffering lymphedema. The techniques equip the child with the ability to have ownership over experiences and manage stress with proper strategies, like focusing their energy constructively on exercises and breathing techniques.
Psychoeducation techniques combine the elements of education, group therapy, and CBT. The primary focus of this approach is to provide families and patients with knowledge about various facets of illness and treatment so that they can work together for better outcomes. At this stage, therapists must provide parents and children with critical information and their expected role in successful treatment. Psychoeducation needs to continue in each treatment plan session.
Safety and Developmental Trajectories
This element helps teens establish and identify future safety behaviors, including communication of abuse in the future. Notably, during adolescence and early adulthood, adolescents and children assume a similar function. When examining the relationship between adolescent psychopathology and child development, this should be accounted.
Conjoint Child-Parent Sessions
In this trauma-focused CBT technique, a joint session is fundamental. This approach offers a moment for caregivers and children to relate and share their ordeals. It also enhances healthy coping and discussion during the treatment.
Affective Modulation Skills
This trauma-focused CBT technique helps the child to focus on improving their emotional expression. A child’s ability to regulate and understand emotions is linked to early academic success. A therapist identifies what the child might struggle with and equips them with the necessary tools to strengthen skills learned. Emotional self-regulation ability is also closely linked to emotional competence because children use emotions to self-regulate.
Processing Trauma Experiences
This component of CBT involves helping a traumatized child to develop a storytelling narrative of what happened. This helps the child develop confidence in revisiting the ordeal situation rather than avoiding. The technique is useful because it helps the child process the traumatic situation.
Nonviolent discipline and positive reinforcements are key program techniques that help a child reduce disruptive behaviors. In this technique, therapists need to have a parallel session with parents and help them adjust and optimize their skills to the child’s needs. Additionally, parental management and relationship-building skills enhance program impact in treatment. Therefore, it is paramount that the therapist reviews basic parenting skills and creates a contingency plan to reinforce the child’s care.
Cognitive Coping Techniques
Cognitive Coping Skills strategies are effective in resolving a wide range of traumatic events. The technique is based on the idea that psychological problems result from how people interpret feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and situations. It teaches the family that they have control over a circumstance that may sound overwhelming. Likewise, therapists need to encourage caregivers and children to identify upsetting situations and tie them to their feelings and surroundings.
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