National Children's Advocacy Center

Mental Health Services

Traumatized girl in need of Mental Health Services such as TF-CBT or PCIT therapy Children between the age of 2 and 18 who have experienced a trauma may be referred for therapy. In addition, siblings of those children are eligible for services. Several types of therapy are offered, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), and group therapy.

What to Expect

Therapy is a unique opportunity for a child to meet with a trained professional who is willing and able to work to establish goals for treatment and to develop a pathway toward achieving those goals. For children who are coming to therapy with a history of physical or sexual abuse, this process also uses research-based treatment that has been proven to be effective in coping with trauma. Occasionally, a child may leave a session feeling temporarily worse before realizing the full healing effect. Therapy relies on the child’s willingness to be open and to participate in the process, and the family should feel welcome to voice any concerns, discomfort, and scheduling issues with the therapist.

Caregivers of children coming to therapy for the first time will meet with the Family Advocate to complete some introductory assessments about the child’s current behaviors. This helps the therapists to focus therapy on the child’s biggest concerns. After completing the assessments, the caregivers schedule their children’s intake session. At this session, the caregivers and child meet with the therapist and complete paperwork necessary to begin therapy. The meeting allows the caregiver and child a chance to tell the therapist what brings them to therapy and what they would like specifically to work on in sessions. Following the intake session, the therapist will usually schedule weekly appointments with the child with the goal of eventually decreasing the number of sessions as the child improves.

Parents and guardians will be asked to participate in the majority of a child’s sessions in order to add to the child’s sense of support in the healing process.  Participation and support are a vital aspect of therapy at the Children’s Building. This may involve participation in sessions with or without the child, availability in lobby during sessions for consultation as needed, and initiation by parent of meetings with the therapist.

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.

Welcome to Therapy

Evidence-Based Treatment Models

Treatment Models at NCAC

Several types of therapy are offered, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), and group therapy. TF-CBT is a treatment focused on helping children recognize how some of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors have been shaped by their trauma. TF-CBT helps children to cope with and change those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. PCIT is a treatment for parents and children who have difficulty communicating and interacting effectively together. Group therapy is an opportunity for children who have experienced trauma to meet, share their stories, and receive support and education together. The therapists using these therapies have been specially trained in these techniques.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy brochure

Frequently Asked Questions