Therapy Works!

By: Kathy Reid Quiñones, Ph.D.
October 28, 2021

Trauma Does Not Define a Child – Therapy Works!

Despite increasing prevention efforts nationwide, children still experience abuse. The good news is abuse does not have to define a child. In addition to many youth experiencing resiliency in the face of trauma, we are fortunate to live in an era in which effective mental health treatments to address the impacts of trauma are readily available. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT; Cohen, Mannarino, & Deblinger, 2006) is considered the gold standard treatment for children who have experienced a range of traumas – from child abuse to medical trauma.

Jake was 14 when he came to the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. He had just been released from the hospital. During his forensic interview, Jake told his therapist about the beating he received from his stepfather, Greg, that left him hospitalized. Using the information from the interview, law enforcement and social services were able to remove Greg from the home. When Jakes’s Mom broke the rules and let Greg visit, social services had to move Jake and his siblings to a safe place. Jake began suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the abuse.

The mental health field has made great strides over the past 15 years in developing effective treatments for children who have experienced abuse and trauma. These interventions are referred to as evidence-based treatments, which means that they have been developed by experts in the field and tested through randomized controlled trials.

The evidence-based treatments designed to address child trauma symptoms have been proven to reduce symptoms of trauma-related distress including Anxiety, Depression, behavioral difficulties, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – such as what Jake began experiencing. The treatments Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center provides are proven to work better than unstructured, supportive counseling.

Most of these treatments can be completed in less than six months, which means a child can get back to being a kid sooner. We know 93% of the children who complete therapy at Dee Norton, like Jake, show no significant trauma symptoms at the end of treatment. Therapy works!

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