Treatment Types

Treatment at HTC incorporates a number of therapeutic modalities, as every client is unique and comes with different strengths and needs. Some of the modalities used at HTC include:

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT): Using a components-based approach, TF-CBT is an empirically supported treatment model designed specifically to target the emotional and behavioural symptoms of trauma in children, adolescents, and families. Contrary to popular misconceptions about “re-traumatization,” the principals of TF-CBT support the re-telling of the traumatic event/s in a therapeutic context so that any cognitive distortions (i.e., guilt, shame, responsibility, safety, etc.) may be corrected. This re-telling of the traumatic event/s also has the secondary gain of desensitizing the child or adolescent to innocuous reminders of the trauma (thereby further reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress). The inclusion of non-abusive caregivers is highly valued in this treatment model, as they are taught ways to best support their children and cope with their own feelings in the aftermath of trauma.

Narrative Therapy: Narrative therapy helps individuals examine the meaning they have ascribed to stories in their lives. These stories often become dominated by themes of hardship, struggle, problems, or despair, thus negatively influencing the way in which they understand themselves and their ability to make changes. The focus of narrative therapy is to then assist clients to “re-author” the story in a way that is more in line with the hopes they have for their lives. Thus, previous stories of despair and hopelessness are no longer the preferred way of looking at their lives and relationships.

Schema Therapy: Schemas are ways in which we, as individuals, view ourselves and the world. Schemas are developed in early childhood and adolescence and persist into adulthood, making them very difficult to challenge. Schema therapy was developed to uncover the lens through which a client filters his or her experiences (often out of conscious awareness). These schemas are maladaptive and harmful, leading clients to have negative judgments about themselves. As such, the goal of schema therapy is to reduce the influence of the early, negative schemas, thereby strengthening healthy coping and a newer, positive way of viewing the world.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): A style of therapy used to fortify an individual’s ability to handle negative emotional states and cope effectively, without being overwhelmed or turning to destructive behaviour (i.e., self-harm, substance use, etc.). DBT gives individuals skills to identify and manage feelings, help focus on the present moment (versus painful past memories or future worries), build resiliency for uncomfortable events, and express relationship desires to others and solve interpersonal struggles in a respectful, helpful way.

Art Therapy: In providing children and youth with an expressive arts approach to therapy the art-making process is a helpful communication modality for traumatized children and youth. It provides them with a voice when they have otherwise lost their ability to verbalize emotions, experiences and thoughts. In shaping tangible creations, either individually or within a group of peers, helps to define their experience of trauma.