Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Cognitive Therapy with Children and Young People

By Patrick Smith; Sean Perrin et al. | Go to book overview

5
Cognitive therapy for PTSD

The intervention is not presented as a highly structured session-by-session protocol. This is because, under the broad rubric of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), children show diverse reactions to trauma and will require individually tailored treatment packages. Instead of session-by-session prescriptions, the treatment techniques are described in some detail, in the rough order that they might be implemented over a two to three month course of therapy. Individual children may spend relatively more or less time on the various treatment components. The pace and content of cognitive therapy (CT) for PTSD will vary from child to child, determined by the case formulation (and reformulation as treatment progresses), clinical judgement, and the extent to which young people are engaged and motivated at various stages in therapy.

Generally, sessions are offered on a weekly basis for 10 to 12 weeks. Many young people will show substantial improvement after weekly treatment for about three months, but some will require further sessions. Most young people prefer a time-limited rather than an open-ended approach, so it helps to specify an initial contract of up to 12 sessions, with a planned review at the end to see whether additional sessions might be useful. While maintaining a pace that is comfortable for the young person, it is helpful to build up some momentum in therapy. Young people are invited to attend on a weekly basis; sessions are missed it can help to double-up sessions in the following week.

The initial treatment contract is for up to 12 weekly sessions.

Session structure is likely to differ from week to week, depending on the sorts of intervention carried out. However, children are generally seen for

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