Bounce Back Program

Children can suffer severe psychological distress when they have experienced adversity, and it is crucial that we make programming to treat child PTSD. To begin treating child PTSD in school settings, “Bounce Back” was created by the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior (Blueprints, 2023).  The “Bounce Back” Program is a cognitive-behavioral group intervention meant to assist in relieving symptoms of childhood PTSD, anxiety, depression, and functional impairment for elementary school children ages 5-11 (CEBC, 2015). The program serves children who are affected by community, family, or school violence, natural disasters, or traumatic separation from a loved one due to death, incarceration, deportation, or child welfare detainment (CEBC, 2015).

The goals of Bounce Back are to reduce symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety, build skills to enhance resilience to stress, enhance students coping and problem-solving strategies, impact students’ academic performance by improving their attendance and ability to concentrate, and build peer and caregiver support (CEBC, 2015). The program is made up of 10 one-hour group sessions, three individual sessions, and one to three parent education sessions over the course of three months. Group sessions are held during school hours and focus on topics like relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, social problem solving, positive activities, trauma focused intervention strategies, emotional regulation and coping skills (Blueprints, 2023). Many of the topics are tailored for the age group that receives them, utilizing storybooks, and games in engagement activities.

The outcomes of the program were very positive, with the Bounce Back program posttest treatment yielding results of significantly improved PTSD symptoms (parent and child reported), anxiety symptoms (child reported), emotion regulation (parent reported), and emotional and behavioral problems (parent reported) (Blueprints, 2023).

Cited limitations for the initial study were a small sample size, lack of control group at three month follow up, and length of follow up (CEBC, 2015). Something that could be added to this program is assessment of ACE scores for the children who are receiving treatment, to identify what kind of care plan they may need. High ACE scores leave children more at risk for PTSD and other conditions, so it may be beneficial to assess risk by administering the ACE test to the elementary school participants. However, from a round table view, “Bounce Back” could be what school systems need to treat childhood trauma and support at risk students who face adversity.


Blueprints. (2023). Bounce Back. Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development.

CEBC. (2015). Bounce Back. CEBC ” Bounce Back ’ Program ’ Detailed.,attendance%20and%20inability%20to%20concentrate

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One comment

  1. Adding ACE scores to the assessment of this program is a wonderful idea! So important that children this age have access to resources that help them build resiliency to trauma. Especially after all we learned about brain development this semester, catching these things early is the best thing we can do.

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