The Benefits Of A Specialist Child Trauma Therapy
As a mental health professional, you’ve probably come across children and young people with complex trauma and PTSD, and now you’re looking for a way to best help them. But why are children and adolescents so different from adults when it comes to processing trauma? What do they need in order to overcome trauma and make a good recovery? And, is trauma therapy training worth it?
Why A Specialist Child Trauma Therapy Is Needed
We haven’t always known that children and young people can have PTSD and complex trauma. In fact, it used to be believed that children were not susceptible to these kinds of mental health difficulties.
Since researchers and academics have discovered this isn’t actually the case, many adult trauma therapies and interventions have been adapted for children and young people to fill the huge need for intervention. Treating complex trauma and PTSD in children promptly can have a huge impact on their recovery and their ability to live a full and healthy life into adulthood.
However, when adapting a therapy approach created for a different client group, there’s a risk that it’s not completely fit for purpose. A bit like using Google translate – what you put in never quite comes out with exactly the same meaning on the other side!
That’s why a specialist therapy that has been designed with a particular client group in mind can have greater success and better outcomes. And, as professionals, having a wider range of tools and techniques to dig into to support our clients can only be a good thing.
In this blog, we’ll explore specialist child trauma therapies and look at the huge benefits they bring to the table.
Children Think & Communicate Differently To Adults
Children interact with the world in a different way than us adults. The way they learn about and perceive their environment is not the same as the way we adults do. And interaction with peers, familiar adults and adults they don’t know yet is also not akin to adult interactions.
Through early and middle childhood, and even in adolescence children and young people commonly communicate and interact through play. Play combines verbal, behavioural and emotional expression, into a single form of communication that is universally and intuitively understood by all children worldwide. Engaging in play facilitates children’s emotional, social, physical and mental development.
For children, play is therefore safe, familiar and fun compared to the complexities of communicating verbally alone. Research has shown that verbal communication skills don’t fully develop until young adulthood, and so as children’s brains are still developing, they don’t always have the vocabulary, mental capacity or confidence to fully express themselves using language alone. Let’s be honest; plenty of adults struggle with verbal communication too!
Through play, children can express their feelings and thoughts using objects, toys and dolls thereby bringing their internal world to life. By playing in this way, children can explore their ideas and feelings in a place of relative security.
And it’s this difference in communication and expression that makes a specialist child trauma therapy so necessary.
Adults mostly communicate verbally through language. As children don’t communicate only using language like adults, it doesn’t make sense for a trauma therapy to rely primarily on language as the main mode of communication and expression. We can’t delay treatment until a child is better able to communicate, as this can result in increased mental health problems and difficulties.
By adding a specialist child trauma therapy that is adapted to children’s ways of thinking and feeling to your professional toolbox, you broaden your ability to create effective communication with children who desperately need support and offer this in ways that aren’t challenging or unfamiliar.
Which Child Trauma Therapy Training Is Best?
Today there are several trauma therapies that can be used with children with PTSD including;
- Trauma-focused CBT
- Narrative Therapy
In this blog, we’ll be talking about CATT, Children’s Accelerated Trauma Technique, an evidence–based trauma-focused therapy that helps young people overcome PTSD & complex PTSD. CATT is different because it has been developed from the ground up in consultation with children, taking into account their unique ways of communication and expression – play – at its core, rather than being an ‘adult’ therapy adapted for children, such as is the case for EMDR, narrative therapy and CBT.
What Is Children’s Accelerated Trauma Technique (CATT)?
CATT is a holistic trauma-focused therapy for children and young people that can be used from 4 years of age upwards. It combines CBT principles with creative arts methods and has been created with children’s rights in mind, meaning it respects choice and promotes access to treatment, as well as holding the child and their developmental capacities at the forefront of their therapy.
As the capability of young people and children to process trauma differs to adults, that’s where CATT comes in. CATT is a UK NICE guidance (2018) and World Health Organisation guidance (2013) -compliant therapy that helps them to overcome their trauma memories in an effective and safe way, and as such, is a crucial upskill for therapists and mental health professionals working with children and adolescents who have complex trauma and PTSD.
The 12-stage process of Children’s Accelerated Trauma Technique (CATT) starts with creating stability and security. From there, cognitive behaviour therapy techniques are fused with creative arts methods to provide a way for the child to safely express, process and rescript their trauma memories. Finally, overcoming avoidance and establishing reconnections are the final stages of the therapy.
You can learn more about CATT and how it works in this blog here…
What Are The Benefits Of Training in CATT??
CATT is an essential tool in your professional trauma therapy toolkit, and here’s why.
By developing your skills and learning an established
trauma-focused therapy that can help children to overcome PTSD & complex trauma, you’re wildly enhancing your skillset as a mental health professional so that you can far better support children with trauma.
Top Up Your CPD/CE
Continuing professional development/education, (CPD/CE), keeps your skills and knowledge up to date so that you can practice effectively and safely using the latest techniques. Training in CATT counts 16 hours towards your annual CPD/CE requirements because you are learning a new therapy skill.
CATT has been developed with the child at its heart. No other existing child trauma therapy can claim the same, and that is what makes CATT so effective; it speaks the child’s language of play and creativity, making it easier for them to engage with the therapy process, remain regulated whilst expressing their memories and heal from their trauma.
Fusing CBT approaches with creative arts techniques makes it easier for children and young people to engage with the therapy and heal from their trauma memories quickly. Those who implement CATT see fast progress.
Because CATT is child-centred and informed by current trauma science, it gives practitioners a confident approach to supporting the young people they’re treating. CATT is evidence-based, and it works; the 12-stage process allows each stage to be adapted to the individual because it recognises that everyone is different.
About CATT Training
As a qualified therapist or mental health professional, you can train in CATT For PTSD And Complex Trauma. We provide CATT training both in-person and online, making it flexible to suit your home and work-related responsibilities.
Our CATT course consists of an intensive 2 days of live training, plus half a day of e-learning, that delivers a conceptual and clinical understanding of PTSD and complex trauma in children and young people. The neurobiology of psychological trauma and how PTSD manifests In children and young people, combined with learning and practicing trauma memory processing through creative arts methods, giving you the tools you need to start changing lives faster.
You’ll experience case study videos, as well as getting to practice various elements of the model so that you can see first-hand how CATT works for young people and begin to use the therapy in your practice immediately.
A Trauma Therapy With The Child In Mind
CATT is the only trauma-focused therapy designed specifically for children and young people with PTSD and complex trauma. By training in thise 12-stage protocol, you can learn to support your clients to work through their trauma memories using play and creative arts so that they can heal and overcome PTSD.
Do you work with young people who have PTSD and complex trauma? Would you like to develop your skills by learning how to deliver CATT therapy? Book your space on the next CATT training course here now…