“Like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders”: Exploring young peoples’ experiences of treatment in a pilot trial of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy

Oliver Eastwood, Wilma Peters, Judith Cohen, Laura Murray, Simon Rice, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez, Sarah Bendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The efficacy of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is well-established, yet little work has been done to understand how young people experience this intervention. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 young people aged 17–25 years (M = 20.0, SD = 2.61) who received TF-CBT as part of a pilot trial. Transcripts were analyzed via interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Four super-ordinate themes were identified: (i) experience of authentic care, (ii) personal role in therapy and recovery, (iii) talking about trauma is difficult but important, and (iv), transformative change. Young people described authenticity on behalf of the therapist, which seemed to foster emotional connection and comfort discussing trauma. They emphasized the importance of retaining autonomy and control during therapy, and a degree of personal responsibility in their recovery. Talking about trauma was described as difficult and potentially distressing, but also as critical for recovery. Transformative life changes were noted, which had a significant impact on young peoples’ future outlook and self-perception. Conclusions: This study suggests that therapists should be attuned to the interpersonal needs of clients, attempt to foster self-determination throughout therapy, and simultaneously recognize the difficulty and importance of trauma work for young people when delivering TF-CBT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychotherapy Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • abuse
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • PTSD
  • TF-CBT
  • trauma
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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