Crittenton Children’s Center Evidence-Based Treatment

At Crittenton, we use evidence-based therapy that delivers lasting and positive results. “Evidence-based” refers to therapies that have been rigorously tested and proven effective. Our commitment to evidence-based practices is part of why Crittenton is highly regarded by former patients, families, and other medical providers. 

We use the following evidenced-based therapies during individual and group sessions, family therapy, and on the units where children stay. 

Attachment-based family therapy

Attachment-based family therapy is used with adolescents who experience depression or suicidal thoughts. Research has shown that depressed adolescents may have detached or disrupted attachments with their parents or caregivers. This can cause them to have low expectations for support and protection from their caregiver.

Attachment-based family therapy helps adolescents understand what may have caused the attachment issues. They learn how to communicate their thoughts and feelings with their caregiver, while the therapist works with the caregivers on skills and language that will help them listen and respond. The therapist also explores with the caregiver if there were ruptures in their own background and how this may influence their parenting style. 

Attachment, self-regulation, and competency framework

The attachment, self-regulation, and competency framework helps children learn to recognize and understand the “triggers” that cause them to not be in control. The child will learn skills for responding to those triggers so they can handle the situation and respond in a productive manner. 

Dialectal behavioral therapy 

Dialectical behavioral is a combination of techniques that help children manage their emotions by thinking through and understanding their feelings in response to the situation around them. 

We teach five concepts: 

1. Distress tolerance: Learning how to accept and tolerate powerful emotions

2. Mindfulness: Developing an awareness of the current moment without judgment

3. Interpersonal effectiveness: Strategies for asking for what you need, saying no, and coping with interpersonal conflict

4. Middle path: Finding the common ground between two perspectives in order to move forward

5. Emotion regulation: Labeling and understanding your emotions and how to regulate them 

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing 

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is used with children who have experienced distressing, traumatizing, and serious negative life events.  

During a traumatic event, a child’s brain can literally become blocked from processing information. As a result, the memory gets “stuck.” Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy helps children process these distressing memories, reducing the memory’s lingering effects and helping the child develop more positive, adaptive ways to cope.  

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy 

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy combines several approaches to address the negative effects of abuse and other forms of trauma. It includes treatment for both caregivers and children. 

After trauma, children experience emotional and behavioral difficulties that extend across many aspects of their lives. They have distorted beliefs, and they may be unable to talk about what happened to them. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy treatment addresses these challenges, encouraging your child to talk about their experiences. This treatment also helps parents cope with their own emotional distress and gives you skills to support your child. The therapy includes: 

  • Training in behavior management strategies and effective communication 
  • Relaxation methods such as focused breathing and step-by-step muscle relaxation 
  • Formulation of the child’s trauma story 

Hazelden Matrix Model for teens and young adults

Hazelden Matrix Model therapy is used to provide intensive outpatient treatment for teens with substance-use issues. It uses cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing to teach teens to analyze events and change thoughts, behaviors, and lifestyles related to alcohol and other substance use. 

Co-occurring disorders

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis or comorbid conditions, refers to the coexistence of a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. Mental health disorders that commonly occur with substance use disorders include mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder; eating disorders; and anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As reported in Hazelden's research update on addiction and mental illness, the prevalence of substance use disorders in the general population is about 16% and nearly doubles to 29% for people with mental health disorders. Crittenton Children's Center recognizes the need to treat co-occurring disorders and uses the Hazelden Co-Occurring Disorders Model to help teens progress on the road to high quality recovery in both their mental health and sobriety.