Dana is a 13 year old boy who has suffered from anxiety throughout his life. He had been coming to therapy to deal with his anxiety as well as with some family issues when he suffered several major losses. First a family member was killed in Iraq, his family home burned down, then soon after his grandmother passed away. Due to these losses, his anxiety symptoms became worse. Dana was having trouble sleeping, was not doing well in school, and was not engaging in activities he previously enjoyed. He was also avoiding any reminders of his losses.
Prior to Dana’s traumatic losses, his clinician completed training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT is a highly researched treatment that is proven effective in helping children cope with trauma and traumatic grief. His clinician felt this treatment would be helpful and discussed it with Dana and his mother. They agreed to try TF-CBT in the hopes that it would help improve Dana’s symptoms.
Dana worked hard in treatment with Laura for several months. His mom checked in weekly and was an integral part of treatment. Over the course of treatment, Dana’s symptoms began to improve. By the end of treatment, he was sleeping better, his grades improved, he was engaging in age appropriate activities with peers, and was reporting an overall decrease in feelings of anxiety. Also, he stopped avoiding reminders of what he lost and was able to talk about his losses and share memories and stories. Dana’s symptoms have improved so much that he has been able to decrease from weekly therapy to monthly therapy. His family is happy with his progress, and he is able to function in all aspects of his life. “D is now able to use his thoughts to make him feel better instead of worse. He learned skills he can use to help manage stress in his daily life,” says his therapist.