PTSD and Psychological Intervention for Children and Adolescents– Can you show me the evidence?

by | Oct 13, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Can you show me the evidence? Back in University I remember a Supervisor talking about the importance of evidence-based practice and that if a client asks “Can you show me the evidence?” for why you are using the intervention you are, as Psychologists who are scientist-practitioners, that we should be able to. So when it comes to PTSD and Psychological Intervention for Children and Adolescents, what does the evidence say?

What do Australian guidelines say?

In 2020 Australian guidelines were published making recommendations for the treatment of Children and Adolescents experiencing PTSD: Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD – follow this link for the full guidelines (https://www.phoenixaustralia.org/australian-guidelines-for-ptsd/)

The Australian guidelines provide a strong recommendation for use of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) for Children and Adolescents experiencing Posttraumatic stress symptoms. There is the recognition that TF-CBT is recommended for use in cases where working with children alone and where working with both children and caregiver. The Guidelines provide conditional recommendation for use of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) for use in children and adolescents experiencing Posttraumatic stress symptoms.

How do the Australian guidelines compare to recommendations made internationally?

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2018 guidelines similarly recommend TF-CBT for use with children and adolescents experiencing PTSD symptoms and that EMDR be considered if children do not respond or engage in TF-CBT (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng116/resources/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-pdf-66141601777861).

Similarly, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) 2010 practice parameters recommend that Trauma Focused therapies be considered as first line intervention for children and adolescents with PTSD (https://www.jaacap.org/article/S0890-8567(10)00082-1/fulltext#secd5935321e830).

So, if you’re asked “Can you show me the evidence?” when providing psychological intervention for children and adolescents experiencing PTSD, you definitely can.

To find out more about training in TF-CBT go to https://psychologytrainingandsupervision.com.au/