Many young people’s experiences with trauma will differ, traumatic experiences can be associated with adverse living situations such as, physical abuse, household substance abuse, sexual abuse and domestic violence to name a few. Experiencing early childhood trauma can cause an overwhelming stress on a young person’s self-regulation, threaten their well being and indicate that the world is unpredictable, dangerous and uncontrollable. Intervening with childhood trauma as early as possible shows promising outcomes, encouraging the young person to see that their trauma does not define them, and it is only one part of their life story.
A Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) is used to address trauma-related emotional and behavioural difficulties which may emerge due to exposure to adversity. TF-CBT is proposed as the ideal intervention method for experience of complex trauma in youth, including experience of abuse and maltreatment (NICE, 2017, Gillies et al., 2016). However, a broad range of multi modal methods are also drawn upon.
The intervention is designed to help young people to develop new ways of coping, behaving and interacting in social relationships. It lays the foundations for growth and resilience, as well as exploring adverse past experiences.
The OCT programme comprises both individual and group intervention programmes, adopting a trauma-informed approach.
The individual work consists of 60 therapeutic sessions in total, separated into two blocks of 30 sessions. In the first block, the young person engages in 6 sessions from each of the modules outlined which cover a range of areas that can be impacted by experience of childhood trauma. The second block builds upon the first 30 sessions and explores the topics in more depth.
In conjunction with the individual work, the young person also receives group intervention, and this adopts a similar format.
The group intervention aims to optimise the acquisition of skills and to reinforce the learning through peer support and feedback, which is particularly important during adolescence. A core ethos is to acknowledge the individuality of each young person. As every case brings specific needs and complexities, the OCT programme is designed so that it can be tailored to each child.