ATA specializes in providing mental health services to children and adolescents with severe behavior problems, histories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect, child or adolescent sexual abusers and/or substance abuse issues. We work with children as young as twenty-four months.
Child sexual abuse includes the victimization of a child by sexual activities, including molestation, indecent exposure, fondling, rape and incest. For the purposes of the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program, primary victims will always be the children who have directly suffered the abuse. Secondary victims are minor children, usually siblings, receiving treatment as a result of his/her own reaction/exposure to the abuse directed against a primary victim.The Sexual Abuse Treatment Program operates on the premise that the provision of specialized treatment services to children and families will help prevent long term psychological effects of sexual abuse victimization. The program promotes support of the child victim, increased insight, and encouragement of healthy family relationships. Family members are involved in a treatment plan designed to change the overall interactions within the family system to prevent further abuse. A combination of individual and group counseling is utilized to reduce the trauma of child sexual abuse and to promote healthy family functioning.
Trauma Focused Treatment ATA staff are trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This empirically validated treatment modality is a structured treatment that takes place over as short a period as twelve weeks. A child and (whenever possible) the childís parent or supportive caregiver participate. The treatment begins with education. The therapist shares information with the child and caregiver about common reactions and symptoms that may result from sexual abuse. This helps children understand that their reactions and feelings are normal and that treatment can help them. It helps non-abusing parents to accept that the abuse wasnít their fault or the childís fault.
Itís common for parents to react to their childís abuse by becoming either too permissive or too protective. The therapist helps them maintain normal routines, household rules, and expectations. If the perpetrator has been one of the parents, the whole structure of the family may have changed, and the remaining parent needs support to be consistent and keep family life as secure as possible. Another step in the treatment, called affect regulation and relaxation, helps the child to identify his or her negative feelings such as anxiety, jumpiness, and sadness that can occur after a trauma.
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