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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma can affect anyone, whether it is from a car accident, family separation, losing a loved one, surviving a natural disaster, or surviving abuse. During difficult times, it is tough to find hope in the world and learn to trust that things will get better. Children who have survived a trauma may display sudden changes, such as irritability, insomnia, poor grades, withdrawal, or getting into fights. To counteract the symptoms related to trauma, hope can be the shining beacon to uncover the resilience to overcome difficult times. In Hiroshima in 1955, Sadako Sasaki was a young girl who was extremely ill from the effects of the nuclear bombing; with no expectation of a full recovery, she found her hope in the Japanese legend of the 1000 cranes. She was told that if someone folds 1000 origami cranes, his or her wish will be granted.

For children, trauma can disrupt their early development and lead them to feel hopeless and lose trust in the world. Experiencing trauma can feel as if your life is being crumpled up much like a square of paper. While you can delicately unravel the ball of paper and smooth out the paper, the feel of the paper is not the same as before. The wrinkles and ridges of the paper are a memory that persists whether we try to remember or not. However, for children, it is within their framing of their memories and thoughts, in which they can find hope and healing again. A square of ordinary wrinkled paper can become something even more resilient and beautiful than it was once before. Once folded up, that wrinkled square of paper can become an elegant origami crane, which itself is a symbol of hope and peace. Your therapist can be the person who helps unfold your child’s potential, even after experiencing a traumatic event.

While trauma may affect a child’s development, there is hope and healing that help us make meaning out of traumatic events. Lorenz Clinic is committed to helping children and families seek healing to overcome the difficulties uncovered by trauma. In February 2018, our clinical staff began a 6 month long learning collaborative for Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an evidenced-based treatment for children who have experienced trauma. TF-CBT is a trauma-informed therapy model sanctioned by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. In addition to online preparation coursework, our staff participated in a two-day training at our brand new training room in Victoria, MN with David Hong, PsyD, LP an approved international TF-CBT trainer from Washburn Training Institute. Our clinical staff will continue to learn with Dr. Hong during the learning collaborative through ongoing bi-monthly online webinars, during which our clinical staff will deepen our learning about application of effective interventions to treat child trauma. Research studies have demonstrated that over several months, TF-CBT effectively helps children through use of relaxation skills, cognitive coping, and developing a narrative for their healing. Trauma can affect our ways of thinking, to the point that we attribute blame upon ourselves for factors outside of our control. Through TF-CBT, therapists help children evaluate their thoughts and create meaningful thoughts and beliefs to enhance their resiliency. With caregiver participation in TF-CBT, our therapists will help your child build healthy relationships and healthy coping skills to be able to trust in the world again and feel hope for the future. Please reach out to one of our therapists today if you are interested in learning more about child trauma and TF-CBT.

Brandon Suarez, Psy.D., LP

Dr. Suarez is a bilingual Licensed Psychologist who approaches therapy from a strengths-based, non-judgmental perspective, especially in his work with families, children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Suarez has extensive experience working with children and families through traumatic life events and collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams within the criminal justice system. Dr. Suarez practices at our Victoria clinic.