CBT for Childhood Trauma

child psychologist

CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for childhood trauma is an evidence based treatment approach addressing the mental health needs of children, adolescents, and families suffering from the destructive and damaging events of early trauma. CBT is designed to reduce negative emotional and behavioural responses resulting from past trauma.

This therapeutic approach is designed to provide a supportive environment where children and young people can explore about their past experiences and develop coping skills to help them with life stressors. During sessions, children will explore traumatic memories, problematic thoughts and behaviours and develop integral coping and interpersonal skills. CBT for childhood trauma also includes treatment for parents or caregivers, who were not abusive, supporting them to learn skills relating to stress management and behaviour management.

CBT combines the following elements drawn from psychological theories:

  • Cognitive therapy: Aims to change behaviour by addressing a person’s thoughts or perceptions, particularly those thinking patterns that create distorted and helpful views
  • Behavioural therapy:  Focuses on modifying habitual responses such as anger or fear, to non-dangerous stimuli
  • Attachment theory: Emphasises the importance of the parent-child relationship

How can trauma focussed CBT be an effective therapy for childhood trauma?

In the immediate as well as the long term aftermath of exposure to trauma children are at risk of developing significant emotional, behavioural and other difficulties, including sleep difficulties, low mood, substance misuse (and other risk taking behaviour) and presentations of anxiety.

Some of the advantages that come with completing trauma focussed CBT include:

  • It can be an effective short-term therapy compared to other therapies
  • The high structured nature means that it can be provided in different formats, including groups and online
  • CBT teaches useful and practical life skills which can be used even after treatment
  • There is a focus on the individuals capacity to change themselves and alter their thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Trauma focussed CBT involves the family system

Contact Meadows Psychology Service today

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about CBT for childhood trauma we offer here at Meadows Psychology Service, contact us or fill out the enquiry form here.

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