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CASGSL offers a range of therapeutic group programming for children and caregivers. Reviews of the group therapy literature suggest that group treatment is an efficacious and cost-effective approach; in fact, group therapy is the treatment of choice for certain types of problems. CASGSL clinicians have noted that group therapy appears especially effective in alleviating children’s and caregivers’ feelings of guilt and shame. In addition, the vicarious learning and interactive process that occurs in a group context enables participants to accelerate their understanding and application of problem-solving strategies and interpersonal skills.
Group programs are currently offered at CASGSL’s three locations as well as on-site at specific schools throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. All prospective group clients participate in an individual clinical assessment prior to beginning treatment. During these intake assessments, CASGSL clinicians will help children and families identify treatment priorities, utilize standardized assessment measures to obtain baseline data, and provide immediate support and education. To learn more about specific group treatment options, or to schedule a group intake assessment for one of the programs described below, please call CASGSL’s intake department at 314-516-6798.
Group Treatment for Children with Sexual Behavior Problems (CSBP)
This assessment and treatment program for Children with Sexual Behavior Problems (CSBP) serves families with children (ages 6-12) who have demonstrated sexual behavior problems. Examples of the problematic sexualized behaviors addressed through this program include children’s excessive masturbation, touching other children’s private parts, and exposing their private parts to others. Following a comprehensive assessment to determine treatment needs, children are funneled into a CSBP group based on their age. During the weekly group sessions, children learn skills in the areas of impulse control, affective expression, relaxation, empathy, and social skills. Caregivers attend a concurrent group where they receive education, behavior management training, and support. The CSBP program, developed by faculty at the University of Oklahoma Child Study Center, has been deemed efficacious by two clinical trials (Bonner, Walker, & Berliner, 1999). More information about sexual behavior problems in children and this effective treatment model may be found at http://www.ncsby.org.
Group Treatment for Adolescents with Illegal Sexual Behaviors (AISB)
This open-ended group treatment program is designed for adolescent males who have engaged in illegal sexual behavior. The curriculum, based on a cognitive-behavioral, psychoeducational approach, addresses issues such as taking responsibility for the behavior, cognitive restructuring, social skills, prevention of future illegal behavior, relationship skills, and victim awareness and empathy. A concurrent group for caregivers/parents is also offered. In addition to receiving support from one another and the therapists, the caregivers learn how to support the adolescents’ in their treatment, build stronger relationships with their children, and improve family functioning. For more information about this population and effective treatment for adolescents with illegal sexual behaviors, please see http://www.ncsby.org.
Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS)
The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is an empirically-supported group and individual trauma-focused intervention based in schools. CBITS is proven to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and improve students’ school performance with diverse populations. CASGSL clinicians are currently implementing CBITS with students from 8 years old to 18 years old in St. Louis City Public Schools who have experienced a range of traumatic events including witnessing domestic or community violence, physical abuse, traumatic losses, and medical traumas. CBITS participants are individually assessed and screened to ensure the appropriateness of the model for each student. Selected participants take part in ten weekly sessions based on the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model. The students learn about common trauma symptoms, stress management techniques, cognitive restructuring, social problem solving, and participate in individual and group exposure sessions. CASGSL clinicians collaborate with the students’ teachers, working to improve the students’ functioning in the classroom through reduction of trauma symptoms.
Trauma Assessment, Skills, and Knowledge (TASK), A Trauma-Informed Parenting Group
This 12-week educational and support group is available to caregivers of children who have experienced trauma. Adapted from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's (NCTSN) resource parent curriculum, TASK addresses the unique challenges faced by all caregivers (e.g. biological and step parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, and other adult family members) parenting a child following one or more traumatic events.
Participants will increase their knowledge about how trauma can affect children emotionally, behaviorally, and developmentally, and learn trauma-informed parenting skills to appropriately respond to the behavioral and emotional challenges of traumatized children. Each participant receives a participant handbook and engages in a combination of learning methods including lecture, group discussion, case vignettes, and exercises designed to assist caregivers in applying new concepts to their children. Topics include understanding trauma's effects on children, dealing with feelings and behavior, enhancing children's sense of safety, ways to support a child’s recovery, effective advocacy, and self-care.
TASK is recommended as a supplement to a child’s individual treatment and for caregivers wanting to better understand how a trauma has affected their child and how they can best support their child’s recovery. Foster parents can earn up to fifteen hours of in-service training hours through their participation in TASK.
Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS)
SPARCS is an evidence-informed, time-limited group program for chronically traumatized adolescents who may still be living with ongoing stress. The program was specifically designed to address the needs of teens (ages 13-18) who are experiencing problems in the areas of affect regulation, self-perception, relationships, numbing/avoidance, and impulsivity. The overall goals of the program are to help participants cope more effectively in the moment, enhance self-efficacy, establish positive relationships, cultivate awareness, and create meaning. SPARCS consists of 16 weekly sessions that are 60 minutes in length. CASGSL clinicians, some of whom learned the intervention from its developers in New York, have provided this treatment both at CASGSL and on-site at local high schools.
To schedule an appointment please call (314) 516-6798