Strong evidence for cognitive (but not other types of) therapies used for children with trauma

September 10, 2008

A review of therapies for children exposed to traumatic events published in the September American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed strong evidence supporting the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, but not other kinds currently in use.

A review of therapies for children exposed to traumatic events published in the September American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed strong evidence supporting the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, but not other kinds currently in use.

Paricipants were age 21 or younger and exposed to individual/mass, intentional/unintentional, or manmade/natural traumatic events. The group of studies included the following interventions: individual cognitive-behavioral therapy, group cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, art therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and pharmacologic therapy for symptomatic children and adolescents, and psychological debriefing, regardless of symptoms.

The researchers found strong evidence supporting individual and group cognitive-behavioral therapy's ability to decrease psychological harm among symptomatic children and adolescents exposed to trauma. However, there was insufficient evidence supporting the other interventions. Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community Guide) was used to evaluate design and execution of studies.