Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in children using cognitive behavioural writing therapy

Clin Psychol Psychother. May-Jun 2010;17(3):240-9. doi: 10.1002/cpp.670.


Objectives: This study evaluated the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Writing Therapy (CBWT) in 23 children (age 8-18 years) in the Netherlands, who experienced a range of single and recurrent traumatic experiences. CBWT uses exposure, cognitive restructuring and social sharing.

Methods: At pre-test, post-test and follow-up, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depressive symptoms, trauma-related cognitions and general behavioural problems were assessed.

Results: At post-test there was a significant reduction of all symptoms, and this effect was maintained at 6 months follow-up. The mean amount of treatment sessions needed was 5.5.

Conclusions: This study shows that short-term CBWT is a potentially effective intervention for clinically referred traumatized children. There is now a clear need of establishing the effectiveness of CBWT in a randomized, controlled trial.

Practice implication: This first study indicates CBWT is a promising treatment, which can easily be used in clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Affective Symptoms / therapy
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Implosive Therapy / methods
  • Judgment
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Narration
  • Netherlands
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Writing*