Therapy

Blue Sky Bridge provides Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for children ages 4 to 17 who have experienced a traumatic event. Treatment is designed to reduce negative emotional and behavioral responses and Post Traumatic Stress symptoms after a traumatic incident.

What is TF-CBT?

Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based, short-term treatment model for children and youth impacted by trauma. TF-CBT includes parents or caregivers for portions of the therapy. Research shows that TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple, and complex trauma experiences.

Specific Components

  1. Psychoeducation: The child/youth and parent/caregiver learn about traumatic stress – what it looks like, why it happens, what makes it worse, and the connection between thoughts, feeling and behavior. Participants will also learn more about therapy and how to get the most out of it.
  2. Emotion regulation: The child/youth and parent/caregiver identify typical trauma-related emotions such as fear or anxiety, sadness or grief, anger, or shame and learn specific skills to handle these difficult emotions in constructive ways.
  3. Correcting negative beliefs: The child/youth and parent/caregiver identify typical unhelpful trauma-related beliefs like self-blame, that no one can be trusted, or the world is very dangerous all the time. They learn more accurate and helpful ways to think about what happened.
  4. Trauma narrative: The child/youth improve their comfort with remembering and talking about what happened without being really upset or avoiding the memories and how to handle trauma reminders. The child/youth and parent/caregiver come up with a way to put the trauma into perspective as a bad experience that is in the past so it does not overly influence the present. This is the main part of TF-CBT.
  5. Positive parenting: This component is for parents/caregivers and will help them learn to handle behaviors the child/youth is showing that are difficult or are interfering with family relationships in a positive way. Ultimately, this coaching improves their relationship with the child.

Benefits

  • Highest scientific and child welfare rating for effectiveness in treatment of trauma related behaviors.
  • Improved personal safety skills.
  • Better relationships, stronger connections and more supportive behaviors between caregivers and children/youth.
  • Development and practice of relaxation techniques that can be used in a variety of stress producing situations.
  • Healthy sexuality, boundaries and coping skills.
  • Improved self management, self awareness and social awareness.

Eligibility at Blue Sky Bridge

This program is available for children and youth ages 4 to 17 who have participated in a Forensic Interview following a traumatic event or series of events. Parents or caregivers also attend intake sessions and specific therapy sessions.

Time: 60 – 90 minute sessions.
Frequency: 12 – 25 weekly sessions.
Cost: There is no cost for service.


What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an approved treatment for PTSD, according to the American Psychological Association. The client and therapist discuss a traumatic memory, then use bilateral stimulation to remove the blocks that impede the brain’s own capacity to heal itself. The therapist might use different techniques like putting puppets on her fingers to make it easier for a child’s eyes to follow. She might also use music or hand-held buzzers instead of or in addition to eye movements to enhance processing.

The goal is to reduce the client’s distress to a point where the memory and reminders associated with it don’t cause a physical or emotional reaction.

Eligibility at Blue Sky Bridge

This program is available for children and youth ages 4 to 17 who have participated in a Forensic Interview following a traumatic event or series of events. Parents or caregivers also attend intake sessions and specific therapy sessions.

Time: 60 – 90 minute sessions.
Frequency: 12 – 25 weekly sessions.
Cost: There is no cost for service.


Meet our Therapists

Robin Friesen-Holwell, MS, LMFT

Robin Friesen-Holwell joined Blue Sky Bridge in 2014, after working as a Family Support Advocate during her Master’s level internship. Robin holds a Master’s degree of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Psychology. During her time at Blue Sky Bridge, Robin has worked on strengthening and expanding prevention education across Boulder County. Robin gives a variety of trainings about the issue of child sexual abuse, how adults can recognize it and respond appropriately, and how adults can talk to kids about their bodies. She is committed to the goal of expanding awareness of these issues in order to create a safer community for children and families. As a therapist on staff, Robin works with children and families who have experienced trauma and are on the journey of healing. Robin is a nationally certified TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) therapist, is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy), and is a member of AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists) and APSAC (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children).

Allison Breed, MSW, LCSW

Allison joined Blue Sky Bridge in 2017 as a Therapist. Allison received her Master’s degree in Social Work in 2005 from the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University joint program. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Olaf College. Allison has worked in community mental health with young adults, as well as worked for several years in schools supporting and empowering adolescents. She was a school social worker in Boulder Valley School District, and also a Prevention/Intervention Specialist at a middle and high school in St. Vrain Valley School District. Allison is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and provides therapy at Blue Sky Bridge to children, teens, and caregivers impacted by traumatic experiences. She is a nationally certified TF-CBT (Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) therapist and trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy). Using TF-CBT and EMDR, Allison strives to meet families where they are to help them in their healing, as well as to strengthen their resiliency and overall wellbeing.

If you are interested in learning more about TF-CBT and EMDR services at Blue Sky Bridge, please call 303-444-1388 or email our therapy staff at therapyinfo@blueskybridge.org.