Chicago Child Trauma Center
La Rabida’s Chicago Child Trauma Center (CCTC) provides direct trauma-focused services for children who have experienced medical trauma or who have been exposed to severe physical abuse, sexual abuse, fires, violent crime, and witnessing domestic violence. The CCTC is the only agency in Chicago that specializes in trauma-focused assessment and psychotherapy for the full range of potentially traumatic events experienced by children.
Serving one of the nation’s most economically disadvantaged areas, the CCTC defines its mission as serving children on Chicago’s South Side and in south suburban Cook County, where their risk of exposure to traumatic stress is great.
Joe, profiled in the story below:
At age 2½, Joe accidentally suffered scald burns and underwent skin graft surgery on both feet. When he was 7, Joe was brought to La Rabida by his mother for outpatient rehabilitation services. He had been referred for psychological services due to concerns about behavioral difficulties in school, frequent nightmares and difficulty relating to his peers. A trauma-focused psychological assessment indicated that Joe met criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Joe’s trauma-related symptoms included frequent nightmares, sleep disturbance, daydreaming, intrusive thoughts about the burn event, negative mood, generalized anxiety and short temper.
Also, Joe’s mother reported that he refused to take a bath and would frequently rub his feet together during sleep. Joe’s mother reported that these trauma-related symptoms had been present since the burn accident but that Joe had not received a psychological assessment or treatment for these symptoms during the course of his medical treatment (which included acute care following the accident and 4½ years of rehabilitation).
At La Rabida, Joe participated in 17 trauma-focused psychotherapy sessions intended to integrate his experience of the burn and desensitize him to trauma-related stimuli. By the end of treatment, his trauma-related symptoms were significantly reduced. Joe reported no longer having intrusive thoughts about the incident; he had stopped rubbing his feet together during sleep and no longer refused to bathe. In addition, Joe experienced a marked decline in symptoms of anxiety, and his mood appeared significantly improved. He no longer met criteria for PTSD and no longer experienced many of the debilitating symptoms he had endured for almost five years.
Joe’s story is not unique. Whether coping with single-episode trauma, ongoing maltreatment or chronic exposure to violence, the children we serve have demonstrated that appropriate intervention focused on their traumatic experiences can lead to lasting healing.
Chicago Child Trauma Center (CCTC)
1111 E. 87th St., Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60619
The Chicago Child Trauma Center is a Community Treatment Services site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). To learn more about the NCTSN, click here.