Addressed by Treatment
Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (or symptoms)
Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) is
a group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children and adolescents
who have moderate levels of symptoms from PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
CBITS is a manual-based CBT and uses an early intervention "skills-oriented"
group approach. Ten weekly sessions include: education, relaxation
training, cognitive therapy, real-life exposure, stress or trauma exposure,
and social problem solving. CBITS has two overall goals: 1) reducing the
symptoms of PTSD, depression and general anxiety, and 2) enabling the child
to practice on his or her own after the intervention ends. CBITS also includes
short parent and teacher education components.
The CBITS program has been evaluated by two studies published in 2003. The first study, conducted by Kataoka et al., in 2000, used a quasi-experimental design to test the efficacy of the Mental Health for Immigrants (MHIP) program, a shortened version of the CBITS program (reduced from 10 sessions to 8, and tailored to traumatized immigrant students). Results indicated that the intervention group had greater improvement in PTSD and depressive symptoms compared with the waitlist group at the 3-month follow-up.
The second study, conducted during the 2001-2002 academic year by Stein et al., used a randomized controlled trial with 6th grade students at two middle schools. The CBITS program was delivered in a school setting with participants randomly assigned to one of 2 groups: early intervention or waitlist delayed group. Results indicated that immediately after treatment, 86% of the participants had lower PTSD symptom scores. In addition, participants in the early intervention group had significantly lower scores for symptoms of PTSD, depression, and psychosocial dysfunction than the waitlist delayed intervention group.
10 Weeks, 10 Sessions
(60 minutes each)
Groups may be conducted by social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, or school counselors with mental health intervention experience. Specialized training in CBT and with trauma survivors is recommended.
It is intended that this program be implemented by mental health professionals with appropriate education, training, credentialing, and experience treating the target population.
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