Therapy with kids: What works?

A research review conducted by the Task Force on Community Preventative Services was published in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of Preventative Medicine. The authors investigated the effectiveness of various therapies in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents. One therapeutic method stood out. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), which involves discussing and writing about thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, along with relaxation and other coping strategies, was the only therapy investigated with evidence of its effectiveness. The review concluded that individual or group-based CBT reduced PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression in children and youth. There was insufficient evidence in support of the effectiveness of play therapy, art therapy, pharmacologic therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or psychological debriefing in reducing the symptoms associated with PTSD, anxiety, or depression.

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