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Trauma Treatment Service (TTS)

Lurie Children's Trauma Treatment Service (TTS) is a multidisciplinary team that works to provide comprehensive, evidence-based, holistic interventions to patients and families who have experienced violence and trauma. This can include, but is not limited to, people who have been direct victims of (or witnessed) homicide, gun violence, interpersonal and domestic violence, sexual violence, robbery, or assault, as well as medical trauma, or accidents.


Who We Serve

TTS supports children and adolescents (ages 7-18) who have mental health challenges following an exposure to one or more traumatic events. While the child or adolescent is our primary client parents and caregivers are directly involved in all of the treatment. We serve families insured by most Medicaid plans as well as those with private insurance.

Services Offered

TTS provides individual, group and family therapy, resource connection and coordination as well as medication management on an outpatient basis.  Families can be served at any one of our three locations. The team has providers and trainees who are qualified to utilize the following evidence-based modalities for treatment. Additionally, TTS supports the Forensic Assessment for Immigrant Relief (FAIR). Which provides medical and psychological evaluations free of charge to child and adolescent survivors of torture, persecution, or other human rights abuses who are seeking asylum in the United States

Individual Therapy Services

  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): Children (6-18) and caregivers learn effective skills to cope with trauma-related emotional and behavioral problems, how problem solve in a safe and therapeutic way, and to integrate their trauma experiences move forward with life in a safe and positive manner.
  • Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents (TGCTA): It is a modularized treatment manual that for individuals (12-18) or a group settings. The intervention contains a variety of components, targeted to the individual or group organized into four modules.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): Indicated for adolescents (12-18) and families as well as immigrants and/or refugees. CPT helps patients learn how to challenge and modify unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma. The patient is able to create a new understanding of the event(s) to reduce its ongoing negative effects on current life.
  • Attachment Regulation and Competency (ARC): Is a flexible, components-based intervention developed for children and adolescents (6-18) who have experienced complex trauma, along with their caregiving systems. ARC’s foundation is built upon four key areas of study: normative childhood development, traumatic stress, attachment, and risk and resilience. From these areas, important childhood skills and competencies are identified and addressed, increasing resilience.

Group Therapy Services*

  • Hope and Healing: A group intervention for children (8-18) and caregivers. This intervention provides a basic overview of trauma, coping and the impact these events can have on families and children. This can be provided in both English and Spanish.
  • Bounce Back: A cognitive-behavioral, skills based group targeted to increasing functioning in elementary school aged children (6-11). Children practice and learn feeling identification, relaxation, problem solving skills and conflict resolution. There is also a parent component to treatment and while this is typically done in a school setting this has been adapted to a clinical setting.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS): This is the teen version of the Bounce Back intervention. It is a cognitive-behavioral, skills based group targeted to increasing functioning of adolescents (12-18). Teens practice and learn feeling identification, relaxation, problem solving skills and conflict resolution. There is also a parent component to treatment and while this is typically done in a school setting this has been adapted to a clinical setting.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Group: This is a brief treatment intervention that supports relaxation and increased coping. The goal is to get exposure to these concepts and better understand the connection between mind and body. Presently, these groups are being run for children (9-18) at a variety of locations.
  • Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS): Is designed to improve the emotional, social, academic, and behavioral functioning of adolescents exposed to chronic interpersonal trauma and/or separate types of trauma. Focusing on increasing affect regulation and decreasing impulsivity, improving self-perception, relationships and minimizing avoidance. Additionally, it focuses on struggles with their own purpose and meaning in life as well as worldviews that make it difficult for them to see a future for themselves.

*Run at varying times throughout the year

Who Is on the TTS Team?

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Jennifer Peterson, DPN

Child & Adolescent Psychologists

Claire A. Coyne, PhD

Pediatric Psychologist, The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Call 1.800.543.7362

Rebecca Ford-Paz, PhD

Co-Director, Forensic Assessment for Immigration Relief (FAIR) Clinic; Clinical Child Psychologist, The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Call 1.800.543.7362

Anthony T. Vesco, PhD

Psychologist, The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Call 1.800.543.7362

Psychiatric Social Workers

Nicole du Mont, LCSW

Mallory Hilliard, LCSW, CADC

Clinical Social Worker, The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Call 1.800.543.7362

Megan K. Lerner, LCSW

Senior Social Worker, The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health; Clinical Coordinator, Trauma Treatment Service

Call 1.800.543.7362

Hillery Morris-Princehorn, LCSW

Keith V. Wallace, MDiv, MSW, LCSW

Senior Social Worker, The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Call 1.800.543.7362

Amy L. Wilde, LCSW

Senior Social Worker, The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Call 1.800.543.7362

Grant Coordinator

Courtney Bledsoe, LCSW

How Can Trauma Treatment Help Children & Families?

  • Can improve individual and familial safety
  • Help your family better understand the effects of trauma on your brain and body, as well as behavior
  • Learn various ways to cope with difficulties caused by the trauma
  • Increase and be able to recognize the family’s strengths
  • Working together to resume the child’s appropriate developmental trajectory

Typical Behavioral Responses to Traumatic Events

After exposure to a traumatic life event, almost everyone feels some form of short-term reactions. Parents and caregivers play a very important role in helping children understand and cope with traumatic and stressful experiences.

Think about the sense of security for your child like a strong table that can hold anything. The four pillars holding up this table are:

  • People: those whom they rely on for strength and reassurance
  • Place: the familiar setting where they feel comfortable and safe
  • Routine: the regular, dependable daily plan
  • Ritual: comforting traditions

When bad things happen, such as a trauma event, some family members may become very upset and show signs of traumatic stress. They may:

  • Feel numb or shock
  • Avoid people and places that remind them of the event
  • Have nightmares or strong memories of the event, as if re-living it
  • Show changes in behavior; such as going from an outgoing child to quiet and withdrawn
  • Be very afraid, angry, or sad
  • Have trouble sleeping or paying attention
  • Feel helpless and hopeless
  • Be very tired and worn out
  • Complain of aches and pains

  • When these behaviors or feelings get in the way of day to day activities
  • When these behaviors affect my child at home, school and with their peers
  • When these behaviors last for a minimum of one month
  • If your child expresses suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actions*
  • If your child displays self-injurious behaviors/actions

*If your child is experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts, feelings or plans, please take your child to the nearest emergency room or contact 911

For families having ongoing distress, crises, or trouble meeting their children’s needs, trauma treatment is available to help your family seek safety, grow stronger, and heal.

Things families can do to cope with traumatic stress

It is natural to want to “put the past behind you” and not to think or talk about the bad things that happened. While each person in the family may behave differently, families can manage fear and stress and feel safer when they spend time together talking about their feelings, return to everyday routines, respect family rules, and honor family traditions.

Some families get better with time and the support of others, while other families may need help from trauma treatments. When seeking help, your family can:

  • Talk to a doctor, school counselor, or spiritual leader about the family’s trauma event
  • Find a mental health provider who has experience helping families overcome traumatic stress, ideally with training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) or another evidenced based trauma treatment model.

Trauma counseling is a mental health service that help all members of the family:

  • Feel safe
  • Learn about trauma and its effects
  • Cope with difficulties caused by the trauma
  • Recognize and build on the family’s strengths
  • Talk about ways to get the family back on track

If you would like mental health services at Lurie Children’s, please contact 1.800.KIDS.DOC.

Contact Information

If you or someone you love would benefit from these services, please contact Lurie Children’s at 1.800.KIDS DOC (1.800.543.7362). When speaking with a KIDS DOC representative, please let them know that you are interested in the Trauma Treatment Service through the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. Please note almost all services are located within our outpatient centers, with limited appointments at the main campus.  

Our Locations

Ann Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago 
225 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Outpatient Center in Lincoln Park 
2515 N. Clark Street/467 W. Deming Place Chicago, IL 60614

Outpatient Services at 1440 N. Dayton
1440 N. Dayton St. Chicago, IL 60642

Frequently Asked Questions

In the initial phone call you will get from an intake worker, they will ask various questions about your child and their needs, as well as the family’s needs. Once a spot becomes available, your family will be called to schedule an initial appointment. You will not have to switch providers once you start with your initial diagnostic intake evaluation.   

We ask that you arrive 30 minutes early for your first session. When you arrive for the intake appointment you will check in at the front desk and will be asked to fill out some forms. The length of the intake appointment will be between 50-60 minutes. All appointments will occur during the school day. Notes can be written for both school and/or work. 

No, medication is not required for participation. However, if you and your child’s provider think that they could benefit from medication, we can discuss this and make a referral. 

Yes. It is essential for parents/guardians to participate in an effort to make significant changes within the family system. Also, it is important to come to your scheduled appointments. This will help the therapist to learn about your concerns, and discuss goals for therapy. Consistency also helps you and your child to build a relationship with the therapist.

The length of time spent in therapy is individual to each client. It typically takes your therapist 3-6 weeks to get to know you and your child, discuss concerns, and work together to create therapy goals. Once goals are created, your child may be in therapy for as long as it will take you to feel as though you have made significant progress towards these goals. Your therapist will review your child’s goals every 4-6 months to discuss progress. On average, children are in therapy for one year, but this can be shorter or longer depending on each client’s needs.

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