lemminglover asked: I have heard of TF-CBT and know a little about it, but can you break down more about what it is and what kind of things you do in it?
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): Gradual exposure is included in all components to help children gain mastery in how to use skills when trauma reminders or cues occur. The components are:
- P – Psycho-education and parenting skills
- R – Relaxation techniques: Focused breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and teaching the child to control their thoughts (thought stopping).
- A – Affective expression and regulation: To help the child and parent learn to control their emotional reaction to reminders by expanding their emotional vocabulary, enhancing their skills in identification and expression of emotions, and encouraging self-soothing activities
- C – Cognitive coping: Through this component, the child learns to understand the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors and think in new and healthier ways.
- T – Trauma narrativeand processing: Gradual exposure exercises including verbal, written and/or symbolic recounting (i.e., utilizing dolls, art, puppets, etc.) of traumatic event(s) so the child learns to be able to discuss the events when they choose in ways that do not produce overwhelming emotions. Following the completion of the narrative, clients are supported in identifying, challenging and correcting cognitive distortions and dysfunctional beliefs.
- I – In vivo exposure: Encourage the gradual exposure to innocuous (harmless) trauma reminders in child’s environment (e.g., basement, darkness, school, etc.) so the child learns they can control their emotional reactions to things that remind them of the trauma, starting with non-threatening examples of reminders.
- C – Conjoint parent/child sessions: Held typically toward the end of the treatment, but maybe initiated earlier when children have significant behavior problems so parents can be coached in the use of behavior management skills. Sessions generally deal with psycho-education, sharing the trauma narrative, anxiety management, and correction of cognitive distortions. The family works to enhance communication and create opportunities for therapeutic discussion regarding the trauma.
- E – Enhancing personal safety and future growth: Provide training and education with respect to personal safety skills and healthy sexuality/ interpersonal relationships; encourage the utilization of skills learned in managing future stressors and/or trauma reminders.
Anonymous asked: what is the difference between a social worker and a therapist/psychiatrist?
The answer to this question is more complicated that you would think so I will try to break it down for you
- Social Worker: This is a very broad title. Most people that use this title do not actually have a masters degree in social work (many don’t have a BSW either). Examples of this would be the majority of people working at child services or in lower level non-profit jobs.
- Clinical Social Worker: A Clinical Social Worker is someone who has a Masters in Social Work. MSWs are qualified to be therapists in the same way as any other master’s level therapists (ex. MFT). Not all people with an MSW are therapists. In my program some people didn’t take any therapy classes their 2nd year. An MSW is a broad degree that lets you do both clinical and non clinical work in a number of settings. Click here for a list of social work careers.
- Therapist: An MSW is one of many degrees that qualifies you to be a therapist. An MA in Counseling and a MFT are two other masters level therapy degrees. PsyDs and Clinical Psych Phds are also therapists and have the title “psychologist.” Aside from therapy they also conduct research and can do psychological testing.
- Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists a doctors/went through medical school and can provide therapy (however most don’t) and also write prescriptions. Most clients will have a therapist and then get any psychotropic meds they need from a separate psychiatrist.
I outlined the differences between grad programs and career options a little more here.