Teaching recovery techniques – TRT

TRT

Summary

Delivery of the intervention: Group-based

Aim of the intervention: The aim of the intervention is to teach children methods to reduce stress-reaction. The TRT-intervention is suitable for treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), coping after a trauma and support the child’s recovery.

Description of the intervention: TRT is a group-based intervention for over 8 year-old children and their parents, who have been exposed to armed conflicts or natural catastrophes. The theoretical framework is provided by the trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy. The intervention comprises five sessions in consecutive weeks for children and two consecutive weeks for the parents at the beginning of the children’ group. The parent groups focus on supporting and guiding methods, with which the parents can help their children in the traumatic situation. After the TRT-intervention a follow-up session can be organized to reinforce the learned contents and to share peer experiences. Intervention uses a guidebook developed for the intervention

Availability of the intervention in Finland: Mental health, social and healthcare and education professionals can attain a TRT group leader training, organized by private mental health professionals. They must have been trained as a trainer by the Children and War Foundation (CWF). The trainings have been organized in Finland primarily based on bookings. The TRT has been originally developed for treating traumatic experiences caused by natural catastrophes and conflicts. The intervention has been used in Finland as a group-based method for immigrant children at school, in crisis work and for victims of sexual abuse.

Research- and evidence-based efficacy of the intervention: The effectiveness of the TRT-intervention has been tested in international RCT-studies, which have focused on the post-traumatic stress disorder (Barron et al. 2013; 2016; Pityaratstian et al. 2015; Qouta et al. 2012) in response to natural catastrophes (Pityaratstian et al. 2015) and conflicts (Barron et al. 2013; 2016; Diab et al. 2015; Qouta et al. 2012), depressive symptoms (Barron et al. 2013; 2016; Qouta et al. 2012), traumatic sadness and academic accomplishments (Barron et al. 2013), resilience (Diab et al. 2015) and dissociation (Barron  et al. 2016) in children. The studies have found strong evidence for the intervention in reducing depressive symptoms and traumatic sadness. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms were found to decrease in the intervention group compared to the control group, but the effect on the academic accomplishment, resilience and dissociation was small. There is neither peer reviewed research nor research-based evidence of effectiveness of the intervention in Finland.

Literature:

  • Barron, I., Abdallah, G., & Heltne, U. (2016). Randomized control trial of Teaching Recovery Techniques in rural occupied Palestine: Effect on Adolescent Dissociation. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(9), 955–973.
  • Barron, I., Abdallah, G., & Smith, P. (2013). Randomized control trial of a CBT trauma recovery program in Palestinian school. Journal of Loss and Trauma: International Perspectives on Stress & Coping, 18(4), 306–321.
  • Diab, M., Peltonen, K., Qouta, S. R., Palosaari, E., Punamäki, R-L. (2015). Effectiveness of psychosocial intervention resilience among war-affected children and the moderating role of family factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 40, 24–35.
  • Pityaratstian, N., Piyasil, V., Ketumarn, P., Sitdhiraksa, N., Ularntinon, S., & Pariwatcharakul, P. (2015). Randomized controlled trial of group cognitive behavioural therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents exposed to tsunami in Thailand. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 43, 549–561.
  • Qouta, S. R., Palosaari, E., Diab, M., Punamäki, R-L. (2012). Intervention effectiveness among war-affected children: a cluster randomized controlled trial on improving mental health. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 288–298.