Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy with unaccompanied refugee minors: a case series

Unterhitzenberger, Johanna; Eberle-Sejari, Rima; Rassenhofer, Miriam; Sukale, Thorsten; Rosner, Rita; Goldbeck, Lutz
October 2015
BMC Psychiatry;10/23/2015, Vol. 15, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) are a group who are vulnerable to developing posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). However, they rarely receive the treatment that is indicated and there are no treatment studies focusing exclusively on this group of adolescents. This case study evaluates the feasibility of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) for URMs with PTSS. Method: A health care utilization sample of N = 6 was assessed prior to and after treatment with TF-CBT. Therapists were asked to report differences in treatment application and content in comparison to TF-CBT standard protocol. Results: We found moderate to high levels of PTSS at baseline and a clinically significant decrease in symptoms at posttest. Some modifications to the TF-CBT protocol were made with regard to affective modulation which required more sessions than usual whereas fewer caregiver sessions were conducted. Conclusion: TF-CBT is feasible in reducing PTSS in severely traumatized URMs. Further research with controlled trials is necessary.


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