Brief therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in maltreated youth in a shelter care facility

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Therapy to address PTSD symptoms in maltreated youth has received increased research attention in recent years. However, little data are available regarding the treatment of youth temporarily housed in shelter care facilities whose parents are unavailable or inaccessible. The present study examined a brief group therapy protocol for such youth in a county-operated shelter. Participants received 1-6 sessions of treatment depending on their length of stay at the shelter. Treatment components included psychoeducation, anxiety management, cognitive restructuring and coping skills, emotional expression, mindfulness, brief exposure, boundary setting, and journaling. Results revealed a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms overall and that number of group therapy sessions mediated pre-treatment and post-treatment scores on various dependent measures. In addition, level of pre-treatment dissociation predicted reduction in PTSD levels. These preliminary results indicate that brief treatment for youth temporarily housed in a shelter care facility can provide some amelioration of PTSD-related symptoms.


Maltreatment; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Youth


Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health


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