Information for Professionals

What is PYCES?pyces1

Parents and Young Children under Extreme Stress

We are investigating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in young children.  PTSD is a deeply distressing and disabling anxiety disorder comprising symptoms of trauma re-experiencing (e.g. flashbacks, nightmares), avoidance (e.g. social withdrawal, emotional numbing), and hyperarousal (e.g. anger outbursts).  PTSD is usually comorbid with other psychiatric conditions and markedly impairs educational, social and daily functioning.

Our pilot work on 3-8 year olds found 10-15% still suffering PTSD 3 years post-trauma, supporting the consensus in the literature that chronic PTSD in young children following discrete traumas shows little spontaneous remission.  Although current National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended treatments for PTSD across the lifespan comprise psychological interventions, there are currently no such treatments available for this young age group.

Therefore we are testing the effectiveness of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT) in this age group.  TF-CBT has been shown to be effective in treating PTSD in adults, and our recent work shows it is effective in treating young children and adolescents.  All our treatment is delivered by clinical psychologists here in Cambridge or a clinic local to the child.

If you know of a child, aged between 3 and 8 years, who you have concerns about following a traumatic event, please contact us to discuss their appropriateness for the trial.  You can refer directly to us.

The main inclusion criteria are:

  • Child aged 3-8 years
  • Has been involved in or witnessed a terrifying event like a car accident, assault or something potentially life threatening
  • Showing signs of distress relating to the event – e.g. memories popping into mind, nightmares, problems sleeping, avoiding certain places or situations

Eligible participants will receive the therapy either straight away, or after a 12-week wait (if they still need it). It is entirely random whether a participant is asked to wait or not, but this is necessary to test the effectiveness of the treatment.

Please see our Referrer Information Sheet for more details.  Also feel free to pass on our Parent Information Sheet, or to look at our Frequently Asked Questions.

You can contact Ben on:

Dr Ben Goodall
Clinical Psychologist and Trial Co-ordinator
01223 760 673





Forvie Site, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, CB2 0QQ

Tel:01223 355294
DL:01223 273779

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