Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Sexually Abused Children

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Sexually Abused Children

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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) shows empirical evidence to support its validity when counseling sexually abused children. The theory was designed to resolve post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive and anxiety symptoms. This model of psychotherapy is not only useful to children and adolescents but to a wide range of population, such as parents, and many persons suffering from mental illness. The methodology of CBT is specific and brief therapy that teaches a person to talk about emotion and thoughts and how they contribute to the person’s behavior. CBT uses Socratic questioning, self-reflection and problem-solving skills to eradicate undesired behaviors. Trauma-Focused can include Narrative Therapy to explore the traumatic event and is best delivered by creative, resourceful therapists who have developed close therapeutic alliances with their clients.

Cognitive Behavioral therapy has been vastly researched longitudinal, multiple studies have been replicated, and the empirical evidence being effectiveness when working with clients who have been sexually abused. Berliner, L., Cohen, J., Saywitz,, K., Mannarino, A. (2000) explain, CBT for childhood anxiety teaches coping skills and training for childhood depression, and parent management training based on “behavioral techniques and cognitive problem-solving training for externalizing behavior problems.” Person’s suffering from PTSD often show symptoms that target emotional or behavioral difficulties.

According to Harris and Pattison (2006) evidence suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy is effective with a range of anxiety problems and that it is superior to no treatment in the short and medium term. Group CBT is effective with children ...


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Heyne, D., King, N., Mullen, P., Myerson, N., Tonge, B., Rollings, S., Ollendick, & Thomas, H.(2003). Sexually Abused Children Suffering From Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Assessment and Treatment Strategies. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p2, 11p

Kumar, V. & Treadwell, T. (2002). Introduction to the special issue on cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodrama. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, Vol. 55(2-3), pp. 51-53.

Fitzgerald, M, Ford, J. & Lang, J. (2010). An algorithm for determining use of trauma-focused cognitive–behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, Vol. 47(4), Dec, 2010. pp. 554-569

Mildred, J. (2009) Review of 'Helping abused and traumatized children: Integrating directive and nondirective approaches'. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, Vol. 26(3), pp. 275-278.

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