Treatment practices for childhood posttraumatic stress disorder


Objective: This study surveyed practices in treating childhood PTSD among child psychiatrists and non-M.D. therapists with self-identified interest in treating traumatized children. Method: An anonymous survey was mailed to 207 child psychiatrists ("medical") [members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry] and 460 nonphysician ("non-medical") therapists [members of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies] inquiring about current interventions used to treat children with PTSD. Results: 247 responses were received: of 77 medical and 82 nonmedical respondents who currently treat children with PTSD, a wide variety of modalities are used. Most preferred modalities among medical responders were pharmacotherapy, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Most preferred modalities among nonmedical respondents were cognitive-behavioral, family, and nondirective play therapy. 95% of medical respondents used pharmacotherapy for this disorder; most preferred medications to treat childhood PTSD were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and alpha-adrenergic agonists. Several significant differences between medical and nonmedical practices were identified. Conclusions: There is little clinical consensus regarding the effectiveness of the many modalities used to treat traumatized children who have PTSD symptoms; empirical research is particularly needed to evaluate the efficacy of pharmacotherapy and EMDR.






Judith A. Cohena
Anthony P. Mannarino
Shari Rogal

Original Work Citation

Cohena, J. A., Mannarino, A. P., & Rogal, S. (2001, January). Treatment practices for childhood posttraumatic stress disorder. Child Abuse and Neglect, 25(1), 123-135. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(00)00226-X



“Treatment practices for childhood posttraumatic stress disorder,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 27, 2021,

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