Dallas CBT provides effective and evidence-based treatment for PTSD in children and adults. Many people are exposed to traumatic events in their lifetimes: situations where they directly experience a life-threatening event, serious injury, sexual violence, or exposure to these events happening to others. When these kinds of events happen, we are expected to have strong reactions, including fear and anxiety, thoughts about the experience that “pop up” and intrude into our consciousness, memories, feelings of being tense and alert, and possible avoidance of situations or people that remind us of the experience. For a subset of people, however, these symptoms persist for a substantial period of time, and can greatly affect their ability to function in their daily lives.

Potential Signs of PTSD

  • Personally experiencing a traumatic event, witnessing one, or hearing about a traumatic event happening to someone you are close to
  • Distressing and intrusive memories, thoughts, or images of the traumatic event(s)
  • Flashbacks to the experience
  • Nightmares about the trauma
  • Intense distress or physical symptoms (e.g., heart pounding, sweating) when reminded of the event
  • Avoidance of thoughts, people, places, or activities related to the trauma
  • Changes in mood
  • Feeling irritable, on edge, or startling easily
  • Concentration and/or sleep difficulties

Treatment

Our state-of-the-art therapy involves Prolonged Exposure (PE), which is an empirically supported treatment for adults struggling with PTSD. It involves a combination of education about common reactions to trauma, relaxation skill-building, and exposure to both real-world situations causing anxiety (i.e., in vivo exposure) and processing the trauma experience in a systematic and repeated manner (i.e., imaginal exposure). We also offer Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), which is an scientifically-supported treatment for children and adolescents (ages 3 to 18) struggling with difficulties related to traumatic experiences (i.e., PTSD). This treatment involves both the child and parent in a structured, skill-building program and incorporates exposure-based techniques. The goal is to help the child process and resolve distressing feelings related to the trauma and better manage problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

The recommended dose for Prolonged Exposure is 10 to 15 90-minute sessions; however, the length of the program can vary. These sessions can be held once or twice weekly, depending on the individual’s needs. TF-CBT for children and adolescents generally consists of 12 to 16 sessions, lasting 60 minutes each.

Both PE and TF-CBT utilize exposure therapy techniques. Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that is considered the “gold-standard” of psychological treatments for trauma and anxiety-related issues. Exposure involves gradually and systematically confronting fears and anxiety-provoking situations that have been causing distress, with the aid and support of your therapist. The overall goal of exposure therapy is to reduce or eliminate avoidance of objectively safe situations, thoughts, or memories, which leads to reduction in anxiety. This treatment can cause short-term anxiety during the process of therapy; however, it is the most effective way to make long-lasting progress with anxiety.

In therapy for trauma and PTSD, you can expect to:
  • Learn about trauma and common responses to trauma
  • Enhance coping around trauma and its consequences
  • Practice gradually and systematically confronting situations and thoughts that provoke anxiety
  • Improve processing and making meaning of the trauma memory