Providing treatment proven to work

When post-traumatic stress is left untreated, it is likely to interfere with a child’s healthy development and lead to long-term difficulties with school, relationships, jobs, and the ability to participate fully in a healthy life. Fortunately, there are proven and effective treatments for children experiencing traumatic stress. With the right treatment and support, children can and do recover from traumatic experiences.

At the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center, we are committed to recommending treatments that have been proven in research to be effective. Based on the needs identified in the mental health brief assessment, children and their caregivers find the services they need at Red River Children’s Advocacy Center or are referred to trained providers in the community.

Treatment Types

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT; Cohen, Deblinger & Mannarino, 2004) is an evidence-based treatment for children ages 3-18. TF-CBT integrates cognitive behavioral techniques with trauma-specific interventions. The model has been researched in numerous randomized clinical trials and is considered the Best Practice model for reducing traumatized children’s emotional and behavioral problems. Children and families who receive TF-CBT meet weekly with a therapist, both individually and jointly. The treatment typically lasts 12-20 sessions.

Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI)

Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CTFTSI; Marans & Epstein, 2011) is a brief early intervention model for children and adolescents 7-17. CFTSI is implemented soon after exposure to a potentially traumatic event, or in the wake of disclosure of physical and sexual abuse. CFTSI focuses on increasing communication between the affected child and caregiver about feelings, symptoms, and behaviors, with the aim of increasing the caregivers’ support of the child; and by teaching specific behavioral skills to both the caregiver and the child to enhance their ability to cope with traumatic stress reactions. The treatment typically lasts 5-8 sessions.

Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT)

Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT; Kolko, Brown, Shaver, Baumann & Herschell, 2011) is a trauma-informed, evidence-based treatment designed to improve the relationship between children and caregivers in families where there is a history of excessive physical force/discipline, child physical abuse, frequent conflict, and/or child behavior problems. AF-CBT is provided once or twice a week over the course of 6 to 12 months. During AF-CBT, school-aged children (ages 5-17) and their caregivers participate in separate but coordinated therapy sessions, often using parallel treatment materials. In addition, children and caregivers attend joint sessions together at various times throughout treatment.

Problem Sexual Behaviors Cognitive Behavior Therapy (PSB-CBT)

Problem Sexual Behaviors Cognitive Behavior Therapy (PSB-CBT; Swisher, Widdifield, & Silovsky, 2013) is a trauma-informed, evidence-based treatment designed to reduce or eliminate incidents of problematic sexual behavior in children 12 and under. PSB-CBT is a family-oriented, cognitive-behavioral, psychoeducational, and supportive treatment group. This program involves the family or other support systems in the child’s treatment and requires weekly caregiver attendance and active participation, monitoring and supporting the child’s application of skills between sessions, and ongoing assessment of child progress in treatment. Research has shown that children that participate in PSB-CBT are less likely than the general population to reoffend. PSB-CBT is appropriate for school age kids (ages 7 – 13) and their non-offending parents. The group treatment consists of 18 sessions.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT; Eyberg et al., 2001) is an evidence-based treatment for children ages 2 through 8 years with disruptive behavior disorders. It has been further developed to address the emotional, behavioral, and relationship problems that are commonly seen among maltreated children and their caregivers (Urquiza and McNeil, 1996). Both caregivers and children participate together in PCIT. An abundance of research exists showing the efficacy of PCIT in reducing children’s behavioral problems. Treatment lasts approximately 20 sessions.

Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)

Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP; Lieberman & Van Horn, 2005) is an evidence-based treatment for children aged 0-5 who have experienced at least one traumatic event and are experiencing mental health, attachment, and/or behavioral problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The treatment is based on attachment theory but also integrates psychodynamic, developmental, trauma, social learning, and cognitive behavioral theories. Sessions include the child and parent or primary caregiver. The primary goal of CPP is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and his or her caregiver as a vehicle for restoring the child’s cognitive, behavioral, and social functioning. Treatment also focuses on contextual factors that may affect the caregiver-child relationship. Treatment averages 50 sessions.

Seeking Safety

Seeking Safety (Najavits, 2002) is a present-focused, coping skills therapy to help adolescents attain safety from co-occurring trauma and substance abuse. The treatment is presented in either group or individual format. Seeking Safety for adolescents is conducted with youth ages 12-17. Seeking Safety consists of 25 topics such as Safety, Asking for Help, Setting Boundaries in Relationships, Healthy Relationships, and Coping with Triggers.

Therapy Services at
Red River Children’s Advocacy Center

At the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center we provide evidence-based trauma treatment for children and families exposed to various trauma such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, community violence, human trafficking, and neglect. Therapy services at the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center are provided at no cost to the child or family. Our clinicians are trained in a variety of evidence-based trauma treatment models. Currently we provide the following evidence-based trauma treatments at the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center:

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT; Cohen, Deblinger & Mannarino, 2004) is an evidence-based treatment for children ages 3-18. TF-CBT integrates cognitive behavioral techniques with trauma-specific interventions. The model has been researched in numerous randomized clinical trials and is considered the Best Practice model for reducing traumatized children’s emotional and behavioral problems. Children and families who receive TF-CBT meet weekly with a therapist, both individually and jointly. The treatment typically lasts 12-20 sessions.

Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI)

Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CTFTSI; Marans & Epstein, 2011) is a brief early intervention model for children and adolescents 7-17. CFTSI is implemented soon after exposure to a potentially traumatic event, or in the wake of disclosure of physical and sexual abuse. CFTSI focuses on increasing communication between the affected child and caregiver about feelings, symptoms, and behaviors, with the aim of increasing the caregivers’ support of the child; and by teaching specific behavioral skills to both the caregiver and the child to enhance their ability to cope with traumatic stress reactions. The treatment typically lasts 5-8 sessions.

Treatment Providers

Receiving mental health treatment from a provider trained in evidenced-based treatments is important because these therapies have been extensively studied and repeatedly shown to be effective in reducing a specific symptom or behavior. The Treatment Collaborative for Traumatized Youth (TCTY) in North Dakota and the AMBIT Network in Minnesota can help you find a provider trained in evidence-based trauma treatment.