Psychological treatment of PTSD in children: An evidence-based review


This paper reviews the recent literature on psychological treatments for childhood post-traumatic stress disorder and evaluates them in light of the level of evidence supporting their effectiveness. The authors examine an array of Cognitive- Behavioural treatments, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and Group-Delivered Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies (GD-CBT), and also a number of other approaches. The paper concludes that the strongest evidence supports the use of TF-CBT for a wide range of ages and traumas. EMDR is also well supported. Group CBT therapies also have some support especially in response to community-wide traumatic events. A number of other approaches, including some emerging therapies, are identified as meriting further research, whereas others are seen to have little evidence supporting their effectiveness. It identifies that one common approach, critical incident stress debriefing, has little support and may have some negative effects. The review identifies a number of challenges for clinical psychologists, including the dissemination of recent evidence to decision-makers.






Haulie Dowd
Brian E.  McGuire

Original Work Citation

Dowd, H., & McGuire, B. E. (2011, March). Psychological treatment of PTSD in children: An evidence-based review. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 32(1-2), 25-39. doi:10.1080/03033910.2011.611612



“Psychological treatment of PTSD in children: An evidence-based review,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 23, 2021,

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