Health care providers are ideally situated to provide trauma-informed care, integrate psychoeducation and support in their patient interactions, and screen for traumatic stress symptoms. While most healthcare providers will not participate directly in providing psychological interventions for children and families, being aware of the range of evidence-based psychological interventions can enhance collaboration with psychosocial professionals
Psychological interventions should be tailored to the individual dependent upon developmental stage and psychosocial risk level, as well as the needs and strengths of siblings and caregivers involved.
Note: The elements below apply to the index child (patient), and to siblings.
Pediatric medical traumatic stress can be treated with evidence-based interventions(e.g., TF-CBT, SCCIP-ND, CFTSI) that have shown efficacy in treating traumatic stress in children. These interventions support children with an injury or illness and their family, by improving protective factors at the family level and reducing specific symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety in the child and family members.
SCCIP-ND is a manualized three-session intervention for parents and caregivers of children diagnosed with cancer. SCCIP-ND is an integrated cognitive behavioral and family systems intervention, designed to promote healthy family adjustment to pediatric cancer and treatment and to prevent cancer-related posttraumatic stress symptoms in family members.
CFTSI focuses on two key risk factors (poor social or familial support, and poor coping skills in the aftermath of potentially traumatic events) with the primary goal of preventing the development of PTSD. CFTSI seeks to reduce these risks in two ways: (1) by increasing communication between the affected child and his caregivers about feelings, symptoms, and behaviors, with the aim of increasing the caregivers’ support of the child; and (2) by teaching specific behavioral skills to both the caregiver and the child to enhance their ability to cope with traumatic stress reactions.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)(web-based learning course)
TF-CBT is an evidence-based, manualized trauma informed care intervention that helps children and parents process thoughts and feelings related to traumatic life events; manage and resolve distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and enhance safety, growth, parenting skills, and family communication. TF-CBT incorporates trauma informed care intervention with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic techniques. In controlled studies, over 80 percent of traumatized children who received TF-CBT experienced significant improvement after 12 to 16 weeks of treatment. TF-CBT can be implemented by trained mental health professionals.
- TF-CBT was reviewed and approved for inclusion in the US Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration's National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Child Traumatic Grief (TG-CBT) (web-based learning course)
An adaptation of TF-CBT, TG-CBT is a manualized treatment program that helps children and teens who have experienced the traumatic death of a loved one, and are having difficulties as a result. Using the same principles as TF-CBT, the program children and their parents learn to cope with the trauma of the death, sort through their feelings of grief, and re-negotiate relationships. TG-CBT can be implemented by mental health professionals with prior training in TF-CBT.
CBITS is a 10-session weekly group trauma informed care intervention for school-aged children who have experienced trauma at home or in the community. Founded on cognitive-behavioral therapy, CBITS teaches coping and problem-solving skills aimed at reducing a child's traumatic stress symptoms and improving their ability to handle future stresses. CBITS is designed to be delivered by school mental health clinicians such as social workers, psychologists, and other clinicians.
- CBITS was reviewed and approved for inclusion in the US Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration's National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices
Real Life Heroes utilizes an activity-based workbook to help children with traumatic stress build the skills and interpersonal resources needed to re-integrate painful memories and to foster healing after abuse, neglect, family violence, severe illness, losses, deaths, or abandonment. The workbook utilizes creative arts and life story work to engage children and caring adults in trauma informed care intervention and attachment-centered therapy and to rebuild (or build) positive, enduring relationships between hurt (and often hurting) children and adults committed to guiding children into adulthood. The curriculum integrates nonverbal and verbal modalities and helps children and caring adults move step-by-step from trauma narratives to life stories highlighting mastery, helping others, and nurturing relationships.
- Real Life Heroes was reviewed and approved for inclusion in the US Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration's National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices