The Child Trauma Services (CTS) Program is a part of the Children’s Hospital at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) in Oklahoma City. By visiting our program website, you are taking a positive step in your child’s and family’s healing from trauma.
This page includes answers to commonly asked questions about our Child Trauma Services Program. You will also find links to program flyers and documents that caregivers are asked to complete prior to their child’s intake session. For your convenience, a quick link to each document is included on the bottom of this page.
Commonly Asked Questions
Who can refer a child to the Child Trauma Services Program?
Anyone can make a referral for a child, including a primary care physician, a DHS worker, another therapist, and a parent or other caregiver. If the referral party does not have parental rights for the child, we will contact the legal guardian to gain consent (permission) before moving forward.
What ages are served through the Child Trauma Services Program?
Children ages 3 through 18 are eligible for our program services.
What trauma types are common in children treated through your program?
We treat youth who are experiencing difficulties related to one or more personal traumas. Types of traumas common in youth treated through our program include (but are not limited to):
- Natural disasters (like tornados, fires, and floods)
- Severe accidents or illnesses
- The traumatic death of a loved one
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Exposure to violence at home, at school, or in the community
- Or a major change in the child’s living situation (like moving away from a parent)
When it is suspected, but not confirmed, that a child has experienced abuse or neglect, it is recommended that the child be referred prior to treatment for a professional forensic interview. Forensic interviewers are specially trained to safely ask children about possible exposure to abuse, neglect or other violent or criminal activity. In Oklahoma, please visit the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Oklahoma website for more information on trained forensic interviewers in your area: www.cacok.com.
Do all children who experience a trauma need treatment?
While some children may only experience a few worries and bad memories that quickly go away, other children may develop long-lasting reactions that will benefit from treatment. Parents should watch for these reactions in children exposed to difficult events:
- Frequent memories and/or nightmares of the event
- Getting easily upset when reminded of the event
- Avoiding activities, places, or people associated with the event
- Often “zoning out”, spending time alone, and/or having trouble remembering parts of the event
- Trouble getting to sleep and/or staying asleep
- Loss of interest in activities the youth used to enjoy
- Frequently cranky, upset, and/or nervous
- Trouble concentrating
- Easily startled or jumpy
A parent whose child is having reactions up to 1 month after the event occurred may want to have their child seen by a therapist with specialized training in child trauma assessment and treatment. The therapist can then determine if treatment might help reduce the child’s stress reactions. All CCAN Child Trauma Services Program therapists have specialized training in child trauma assessment and treatment.
What treatment services are offered through the Child Trauma Services Program?
Our team specializes in a best practice model of child trauma treatment called Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). To learn more about the TF-CBT treatment model, please see the About TF-CBT section our website. You may also learn more about TF-CBT through the national TF-CBT website: https://tfcbt.org/.
TF-CBT treatment supports families in learning:
- Common effects of trauma on youth and families
- Healthy ways to handle difficult feelings
- How to reduce stress
- Skills for managing and reducing upsetting memories
- How caregivers can support youth after stressful and traumatic events
- Ways to reduce behavior problems in youth who have experienced trauma
- Ways to strengthen family relationships after traumatic events
Our Child Trauma Services Program services include:
- Trauma-Focused Intake Assessments to determine treatment needs in children and youth
- Comprehensive Trauma-Focused Psychological Assessments for youth with complex trauma and mental health histories
- Individual TF-CBT Treatment for youth ages 3 to 18 and their parents or caregivers
- TF-CBT Group Treatment for youth ages 5 to 14 and their parents or caregivers (For more information, please see the CTSP Group Description Flyer)
- TF-CBT Treatment Provider Referrals and Consultations for families who may benefit from treatment in their home communities.
- Parent – Child Interaction Therapy for youth ages 2 to 7 and their parents or caregivers.
How do I refer my child to the Child Trauma Services Program?
Please complete the CTS Referral Form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to 1100 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117 or fax to 405-271-8835, to the attention of Amanda Mitten, Child Trauma Services Program Coordinator. If you are unable to print out this form, please call Ms. Mitten 405-271-5700, ext. 45149 and we will mail you a copy.
How will I know when my referral has been received?
Within one week after receiving your child’s referral form, our Program Coordinator will call you to gather additional information. If you have not received a call within this time frame, please call us to ensure that we have received your information at 405-271-5700, ext. 45149. This initial phone conversation will include questions to determine if our program will best meet your child’s needs. If our program appears appropriate for your child, we will schedule your family for the next available intake appointment (usually within 2 weeks).
How long will the appointment last?
The length of an intake appointment depends on the number of children participating in the appointment. On average, an appointment for one child lasts 2 hours. Intakes typically take 3 hours for two children, and 4 hours for three children. We ask that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to complete initial paperwork so that we may preserve the full time to meet with you and your child.
How is the appointment structured?
In order to best serve your child and family, we will invite you, other important caregivers in your child’s life (if applicable), and your child to participate in the intake appointment. Your therapist will start the appointment with you and your child together to explain the purpose and structure of the intake and answer any questions you or your child may have about the session.
During your interview with the therapist, your child will have an opportunity to play with toys provided or with items brought by you that you know your child will enjoy. You may also want to bring a snack and drink for your child. Then, your therapist will meet with your child while you fill out some important measures for us. Caregivers and children ages 7 and older are asked to answer questions about your child’s behaviors, types of traumas experienced, and trauma-related reactions.
We recognize that talking during the intake session about your child’s traumatic experiences may create some temporary distress for you or for your child. Please be assured that the intake therapist will not require you or your child to talk in depth about these difficult memories. In fact, most families find the intake to be helpful and supportive experience. It may be comforting for you to share this with your child prior to your appointment to ease any concern your child may have about meeting with the therapist. Also, the therapist will share in session ways your child may cope with tough thoughts, feeling or memories that may temporarily increase after the intake.
How long is your wait list for treatment?
How long it will take for your child and family to begin treatment with a TF-CBT therapist in our program varies. When you speak with our program coordinator before your first appointment, she will be able to give you an estimated wait time (if any). For families who may benefit from our TF-CBT group treatment program, new group rounds begin approximately every three months.
During the treatment scheduling process, our team does our very best to take into consideration your family’s needs, including the severity of your child’s symptoms and your family’s schedule availability. If you have any questions during your wait for treatment, please do not hesitate to contact us.