Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Molly Lopez, a research scientist at the Center for Social Work Research, will conduct a pilot program with the Texas Youth Commission.
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is for young people with emotional problems stemming from post-traumatic stress, fear, anxiety, or depression related to traumatic events. Such trauma could be family violence, physical or sexual abuse or disasters.
The therapy is a well-studied and evidence-based approach that has worked in outpatient and clinical settings.
“We want to look at how to take it into a correctional facility and modify it to make it useful there,” Lopez said.
This therapy, however, has elements that may prove challenging in a correctional setting.
For example, caregivers are an important part of the therapy, Lopez said. It calls for caregivers to sharpen parenting skills and learn supportive responses to the youth’s description of the trauma.
For the person being treated, the therapy has several components.
They include relaxation and other coping techniques to reduce stress and anxiety related to the traumatic event and developing a trauma narrative in which children describe the distressing event.
Lopez will work with the TYC in adapting the therapy for a correctional facility. She’ll also work with Dr. Anthony Mannarino of Drexel University, a prime developer of the therapy, to make sure the adaptation hews to its protocols.