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Module 4: Evidence-Based Treatments Addressing Trauma

Please click on the Issue Brief to learn more about trauma-specific treatments. Then watch the Video Interviews to hear from individuals who provide background and share lessons learned. For a comprehensive list of links to additional resources and materials, click on Resources on the bottom of the page.


Introductory Video to Module 4.

Adopting and Implementing Evidence-Based Treatments.

Trauma-specific treatments exist to help children heal from trauma and build resilience. Many treatments have significant empirical research supporting their efficacy and safety, which establishes them as evidence based. Providers and agencies must adopt evidence-based trauma-specific treatments and train staff in using these treatments to ensure the best possible outcome for children and families. Providers and agencies must consider the goodness of fit from available treatments for the populations they serve and deliver treatments with fidelity. In this video, providers share lessons learned for adopting and for implementing evidence-based treatments.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

TF-CBT is the most established evidence-based treatment for children and youth. TF-CBT is based on a conjoint child and parent psychotherapy model and uses a systematic, gradual approach to addressing trauma and its effects. In this video, Dr. Anthony Mannarino, co-developer of TF-CBT, provides an overview of the treatment. In addition, clinicians share their experiences using TF-CBT and lessons learned regarding training and implementation.

Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools.

CBITS is a group and individual trauma-specific approach designed for delivery in school settings by mental health professionals working in close collaboration with school personnel. Teachers are often an important referral source, and implementing interventions in schools can reach many children who may have unaddressed trauma symptoms. In this video, representatives from the education system provide their perspectives on CBITS.

Parent–Child Interaction Therapy.

PCIT is an evidence-based treatment for children and their parents. While parents interact with their child, a therapist coaches them in specific skills and helps them foster a warm, secure relationship, while setting consistent limits. This video contains information from providers on the benefits, efficacy, and use of PCIT.

Child–Parent Psychotherapy (CPP); Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT); Attachment, Self-Regulation, Competency (ARC); Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS).

Along with CBITS, PCIT, and TF-CBT, other evidence-based treatments are available to treat children who have experienced trauma. CPP is an evidence-based treatment for children from birth to age 6 that emphasizes the caregiver–child relationship. AF-CBT is designed to improve the relationships between children and caregivers in families and addresses both the risk factors and the consequences of physical, emotional, and verbal aggression in a comprehensive manner. ARC is a framework that encourages the involvement of caregivers in creating a safe environment where children can learn to regulate their emotional experiences and build resilience. SPARCS is a treatment that can be used in group sessions to engage youth in therapy. In this video, providers give a brief overview on these evidence-based treatments and their experiences using them.

Emerging Practices and Cultural Adaptations.

Many of the evidence-based treatments have been adapted for specific settings or to address diversity in trauma type, client characteristics, and needs. In addition, other culture-specific treatments have been developed. Evidence is emerging that other treatment that are not trauma specific or that are designed for adults may be beneficial for children and youth who have experienced trauma. In this video, providers give information on emerging and adapted treatments and other efforts that are trauma specific and best meet the needs of the populations they serve.

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