Counseling / Mental Health Services

Does My Child Need Counseling?

When a child has been through a traumatic event, such as sexual abuse, it can cause trauma reactions or symptoms in his or her behavior. Some possible symptoms/effects include:

  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and/or not wanting to sleep alone
  • Difficulty not thinking about the traumatic event
  • Increased fear in both safe and risky situations
  • Feelings of shame or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty staying still
  • Thoughts about death or dying
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Drop in grades / performance in school
  • Irritability and problems with anger control
  • Efforts to avoid talking about the traumatic event
  • Efforts to avoid things that remind the child of the traumatic event

When caregivers notice these reactions it is important to seek help and support. Bright Tomorrows has been providing mental health counseling to child victims of sexual abuse and their family members since 1984. Our counselors are specially trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

What is TF-CBT?

TFCBT is a research-based therapy shown to help children, teens, and their parents cope with trauma. It is normally provided to children and between the ages of 3 and 18. Bright Tomorrows uses creative child friendly approaches to help children to learn and heal. Talking about the trauma is done in a gradual supportive way and does not happen until the child/teen has learned some skills to cope with the discomfort and symptoms. TF-CBT helps families to manage feelings, talk about the trauma, and develop plans for feeling safe in the future. It includes the following:

  • Education about trauma and its effects
  • Help with parenting strategies for common behavior problems
  • Training in relaxation/stress management
  • Learning about feelings and ways to express them
  • Finding and changing the thoughts about the trauma and self that can prevent healing
  • Developing creative ways for children to gradually talk about what happened
  • Engaging in joint sessions to help the child and caregiver(s) talk together about the trauma
  • Learning and practicing safety skills, developing a safety plan

TF-CBT

What is my Role as Caregiver?

Caregivers are the most important people in a child’s life and are involved in every step of treatment. Studies have shown that supportive caregivers are vital in helping their children to heal.

In counseling at Bright Tomorrows caregivers are asked to:

  • Participate in counseling sessions with and without their child being present
  • Learn helpful strategies to deal with behavioral challenges
  • Help their children to practice skills at home
  • Support their children in the sharing and telling of their trauma
  • Provide a safe and supportive environment

Children younger than 14: Parents and guardians may feel free to telephone or ask the therapist in person about any questions or concerns regarding the child's treatment.

Children 14 and older: Participation, questions, and concerns on the part of the parents or guardians are subject to the confidentiality rights of the child. By law, a child aged 14 or older may choose to share or limit access to personal treatment information. We encourage parent participation and work toward this goal whenever possible.

Bright Tomorrows Child Advocacy Center  ·  409 Washington  ·  Pocatello, Idaho  83201  ·  (208) 234-2646

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