Child Family Traumatic Stress Intervention
Trauma from child abuse can be an extremely frightening or terrifying event that overwhelms a child’s ability to cope with what they have experienced. Traumatic experiences can produce devastating effects on children, making them afraid, anxious, depressed, and unable to stop thinking about the abuse. It can also harm their ability to perform well in school and to relate well with others. Trauma can also lead to problems as children get older, unable to fully function as adults, or developing substance and alcoholic abuse issues to numb their pain.
These reasons are why the Yale University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center developed the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention treatment, known as CFTSI. Working in partnership with Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers for the past six years, Yale University has been able to adapt Child Family Traumatic Stress Intervention treatment with child victims and their caregivers first at Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers, and now at CACs across the country. Through CFTSI, children are brought together with their non-offending parents or caregivers so they can learn how to recognize and deal with trauma symptoms.
What makes CFTSI treatment special is its emphasis on engaging the non-offending caregiver to help their child heal from abuselearning to identify their child’s trauma symptoms, and practical skills to help decrease the trauma symptoms.
CFTSI treatment takes place over the course of just four to six sessions. This shorter treatment period helps families who may not feel ready to commit to longer-term treatments, who have multiple issues to deal with in the aftermath of abuse, or who may not need longer-term treatment.
The results from the treatment have been remarkable. When Yale initially studied the results of treatment for children and families in their pilot program on the Yale campus, they found that those children were 73% less likely to meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Working with families through our Child Advocacy Centers, the reductions in trauma symptoms have been quite remarkable as well – results that Dr. Carla Stover from Yale has described as “not only a statistically significant reduction, but a clinically significant one as well.” With CFTSI treatment, children, their parents and their siblings feel better, and the healing process can begin.
On April 3, 2012, Safe Horizon and Yale University hosted a forum to discuss the results from the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention treatment. Click to read the treatment white paper either in HTML or as a PDF.
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