Mental Health Services

Normal Reactions of Children/Teens that have Experienced a Traumatic Incident

When a traumatic event happens, many children/teens feel a complete loss of control.  Some responses can be easily observed through their behavior and emotions.  Others are less noticeable.  Typical reactions to the sense of chaos they may be feeling include:

• Bad dreams, nightmares or difficulty falling asleep
• Difficulty concentrating
• Avoidance from people/situations that remind the child of what happened
• Withdrawal from family or friends
• Less interest in participating in usual activities
• Increased sensitivity, irritability or depression
• Increased tantrums, meltdowns, or aggression
• Feeling “on edge” or high alert
• Increased anxiety/fears
• Stress-related stomach-aches, headaches, or other physical symptoms
• Flashbacks/feeling like the traumatic experience is happening again

What will help my child if they’re having some of these reactions?

Traumatic experiences have the power to disrupt the way a person’s body, mind and emotions work.  Many of the behavioral changes that appear to be “bad behavior”, may actually be symptoms related to Post-Traumatic Stress.  Trauma-focused therapy services can help your child/teen regain a sense of control over his/her emotions, behaviors and body reactions so that their daily functioning is more stabilized.  Specialized therapy that focuses on helping children/teens learn skills to manage stress reactions, and increases communication between the child and the non-offending parent, can help a family better understand and develop strategies to begin the healing process.

What therapy services are offered at the Child Protection Center?

The Child Protection Center offers a range of evidence-based, trauma-focused treatment services for children/teens that have completed a Forensic Interview, and for their caregivers. Our therapy services focus on the child’s feelings and behaviors that are currently causing distress, rather than continued focus on the details of the trauma.  These include:

Child & Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) is an early-intervention, brief therapy to reduce traumatic stress reactions in children 7-18 years.  Over the course of 5-8 sessions, the therapist meets with the child/teen and their non-offending caregiver to increase communication about and teach skills to manage a child’s traumatic stress reactions.

Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a components-based approach to working with children or teens using trauma-sensitive treatment methods to learn how to recognize and cope with a range of emotions, develop a way to understand and manage memories connected with overwhelming life events, and regain a sense of stability following traumatic experiences.

Integrative Treatment for Complex Trauma (ITCT) is a treatment model designed for children and teens that have a history of multiple traumas resulting in emotional and behavioral difficulties.  ITCT addresses trauma-related symptoms and attachment issues by helping children increase their ability to regulate emotions, increase distress tolerance, improve skills regarding impulse control, social interactions and healthy connections with supportive adults, and increasing self-esteem.


*The Child Protection Center provides all mental health services free of charge.