More than two thirds of youth report experiencing at least one traumatic event by the age of 16.
Twenty percent of youth report experiencing three or more such events. Several studies also show that youth who have experienced physical or sexual abuse have a prevalence rate of diagnosable Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) of up to 70%.
With this information, educational institutions must accept that having students with trauma history is not an outlier, but a norm. Students with trauma histories, can exhibit ongoing struggles socially, emotionally, and behaviorally that can interfere with their ability to learn in the classroom.
ESU #5 has accepted this truth and in 2017, Jen McNally,MA, LIMHP enrolled in a Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) certification program and within a year was certified in the approach. Over that year, certification required in-class instruction, monthly supervision, successful implementation of the model with multiple students, as well as passing a certification exam. TF-CBT is a nationally recognized certification, and is evidence-based with over 25 years of research. The federal government recognizes TF-CBT as a Model Program due to the extensive outcome data from random control studies that supports it’s effectiveness in addressing trauma symptoms in youth. Having seen the first hand benefits of TF-CBT, in spring 2018, Jamie Mapp Ed.S, NCSP, and Cole Stark, MA, LIMHP enrolled in a TF-CBT certification program to become recognized TF-CBT providers. Cole Stark passed his certification test this December, and Jamie is continuing to complete requirements to become certified. Kelsey Koranda, MA, PLMHP also enrolled in a TF-CBT program this past fall. At this current time, statewide there are only 10 certified TF-CBT therapists in Nebraska.
ESU#5 therapists and school psychologist have all reported successes with youth through the use of the model. They have been able to make connections with youth, specifically addressing traumas that have interfered in their life and education. It has been exciting to see students benefit from the implementation of a model and grow to overcome the traumas that they have experienced. The news of these benefits have began to spread as Department of Health and Human Services caseworkers have reached out directly to ESU#5 to help with students on their caseloads within the districts ESU#5 serves.