October 2019Vol. 20, No. 8Trauma-Informed Intervention Designed to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Promote Self-Regulation
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) has launched a resource designed to help youth understand the impact of adverse childhood experiences on self-regulation, sexual decisionmaking, healthy relationships, and personal safety. The Practice Self-Regulation (PS-R) program is a therapeutic, trauma-informed intervention that is part of the OAH Policy and Research Group's federal grant program—Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program—designed to help prevent teen pregnancy. TPP focuses on at-risk populations to reduce disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates.
PS-R is being implemented in eight cities across five states to treat youth ages 14 through 19 who are eligible to receive individual counseling services in outpatient clinics or with independently licensed mental health clinicians. PS-R consists of 10 one-on-one therapeutic and educational sessions on sexual health with a licensed clinical facilitator who discusses how an individual's prior trauma and his or her goals and values can affect sexual health and well-being. The program includes workbook exercises and factsheets to help youth develop constructive strategies for self-regulation, sexual decisionmaking, personal safety, and healthy relationships. The program includes multisensory activities, such as art therapy, guided visualizations, and breathing exercises to help participants integrate key concepts, practice skills, and improve decision-making.
Between July 2016 and July 2018, 148 youth were enrolled in PS-R, and 84 percent reported that the intervention gave them skills to help regulate their emotions and that they planned to use their newfound knowledge to help them prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
For more information, see the OAH TPP's Successful Strategies factsheet on PS-R at https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/sites/default/files/tpp-ss-policy-and-research-2018.pdf (284 KB).