Treating PTSD in ChildrenPosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health condition that can affect people of all ages, including children. Our counselors at Garrett Counseling are experienced in working with children who are experiencing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. We hope this blog helps you gain a better understanding of the different approaches we may use in treating children with PTSD.

When helping children who are facing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the #1 goal is always safety. Safety needs to be achieved both in the client’s environment and in the therapeutic relationship. When children are able to identify people, places, and things that make them feel comfortable and safe, they often experience a reduction of stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Once the goal of safety has been met, our counselors may use one of the following approaches to treat PTSD in children.

Therapy Methods Used in Treating PTSD in Children

  • Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): This type of therapy focuses on providing information and support to both the child and their parents or caregivers. Children and their caregivers will learn parenting skills, relaxation and stress management skills, affect expression and regulation skills, cognitive coping and processing, trauma narration, present time mastery and trigger recognition. TF-CBT will include joint parent/caregiver and child sessions.
  • Play Therapy: Play Therapy uses play to help children express their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors triggered by their experiences in a safe and non judgemental space. Parent or caregiver involvement in play therapy is highly beneficial to increase connection, communication, and understanding between child and parent.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This therapy focuses on four areas including distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness to address the intense emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that can become immense after trauma has taken place. DBT provides children with the confidence to overcome and regain control of their emotions.
  • Bibliotherapy: Bibliotherapy uses books to educate and help children gain a sense of normalization (not being alone) in their experiences. Books used will include stories that involve specific experiences the children have encountered and/or help in the identification and expression of feelings and emotions.
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: This type of therapy focuses on emotional conflicts that are a result of the traumatic event. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy utilizes retelling of traumatic experiences to increase self esteem, develop effective coping strategies. This therapy helps with regulation of emotions through unconditional positive regard, empathetic understanding, and genuine means.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for a counselor to support you and your child in your child’s experience with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Garrett Counseling has counselors in Huntsville, AL and our other locations who are experienced in treating children with PTSD. Contact us today online or at (256) 239-5662.