Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps Children Handle Trauma

September 10, 2008

Cognitive behavioral therapy in groups and individually can help children and teens overcome trauma symptoms, such as depressive disorders, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to study findings published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive behavioral therapy in groups and individually can help children and teens overcome trauma symptoms, such as depressive disorders, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to study findings published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Holly R. Wethington, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of seven interventions used to treat people aged 21 years and younger, including individual and group cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, art therapy, psychodynamic therapy, psychological debriefing and pharmacologic therapy.

Although the use of cognitive behavioral therapy was proven to be effective, other therapies are being widely used, despite a lack of scientific evidence of their efficacy, the researchers report.

"The good news is there is substantial research showing the effectiveness of group or individual cognitive behavioral therapy in treating children and teens experiencing the psychological effects of trauma. We hope these findings will encourage clinicians to use the therapies that are shown to be effective," said report co-author Robert Hahn, Ph.D., of the CDC, in a statement. "Many kids with symptoms of trauma go undiagnosed, which can lead to unhealthy behaviors in adulthood such as smoking and alcohol or drug abuse."

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