I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program

About This Program

Target Population: At-risk children ages 6-12 with a history of trauma or loss

For children/adolescents ages: 6 – 12

Program Overview

The I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program is a comprehensive trauma intervention program modified from the original Structured Sensory Intervention for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents (SITCAP) program. The I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program is a 10-session group program designed specifically for at-risk, traumatized children, ages 6-12. The I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program integrates cognitive strategies with sensory/implicit strategies. The I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program is designed to alter the iconic memories of trauma to allow children the opportunity to achieve the successful cognitive reordering of their traumatic experiences. This sensory-based intervention, which is followed by cognitive or explicit strategies, supports victim to survivor thinking and changes in negative behaviors, and allows traumatized children to become more resilient.

Program Goals

The program representative did not provide information about the program’s goals.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program.

Essential Components

The essential components of I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program include:

  • Group treatment with a recommended group size of 6-8 participants
  • Education:
    • Provides empowerment, sense of safety and reduces anxiety
    • Use of structuring statements to identify process and what to expect
    • Use of specific resource material provided to help normalize symptoms and reactions:
      • You are Not Alone Booklet - The booklet helps young children know what to expect, and ways to heal the hurt following trauma.
  • Debriefing Session:
    • Individual, one-hour debriefing session with participant prior to beginning the group process
    • Alleviates the need for children to reveal difficult details in the group setting
    • Continued normalizing of symptoms and reactions
  • Focus on Themes, Not Behaviors:
    • Treats the sensory experiences of trauma that fuel and drive the child's behavior rather than the behavior
  • Intervener as Witness vs. Clinician- Intervener must:
    • Be involved in the child's telling of their experience by being curious about all that happened
    • Be very concrete and literal in response to all the elements of the experience, its details and the visual representations provided by the child
    • Not analyze
    • See how the victim now views himself and the world around him following the trauma
  • Drawing/Sensory Component:
    • Understands that the experience of trauma is stored in implicit memory and is transcribed into iconic representations/visualizations
    • Teaches that iconic symbolization is the process of giving experiences a visual identify; images are created to contain all the elements of that experience – what happened, our emotional reactions to it, the horror and terror of the experience
    • Teaches that drawings provide representation of those "iconic" symbols that implicitly define what that experience is like for the child, how that child now views themselves and those around them
    • Teaches that drawing becomes a vehicle for communicating and externalizing what that experience was like
  • Trauma-Specific Questions and Details:
    • Asking trauma-specific questions that have been designed to help in the telling of the story and understanding that the provision of those details allows intervener witnesses to better understand what the experience has been like for the adolescent
    • Understanding that details can provide a sense of control as well as sense of relief
    • Understanding that details also can provide information that helps to make sense out of what happened and may still be happening with the child
  • Cognitive Reframing:
    • Allows the victim a "survivors" way of making sense of their trauma experiences by being scripted in I Feel Better Now
    • Helps move participants from "victim thinking" to "survivor thinking" which leads to empowerment, choice active involvement in their own healing process, and a renewed sense of safety and hope
  • Parent Component - Learning about trauma:
    • Helps parents to more adequately respond to their child:
      • What Parents Need to Know Booklet - Ways to heal the hurt children experience following trauma exposure
    • Helps parents who themselves have been traumatized

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • All symptoms and problems that fall under the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnostic subcategories of re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Parents are taught about trauma and its effects.

Recommended Intensity:

One 60-minute session per week

Recommended Duration:

Eight to ten sessions in length

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • One facilitator
  • Program manual and workbook
  • 8x11 white paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Table and chairs

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

  • Minimum 2-day training from Starr Commonwealth suggested
  • Minimum 1-year group experience with elementary school aged children
  • Supervision provided by a Master's Level Starr Certified Trauma and Loss Trainer

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Onsite or online training available

Number of days/hours:

2 days of training at 6 hours/day

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

  • Dr. Caelan Soma
    email: somac@starr.org

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Steele, W., Raider, M., & Kuban, C. (2009). Connections, Continuity, Dignity, Opportunities Model: Follow-up of children who completed the I Feel Better Now Trauma Intervention Program. School Social Work Journal, 33(2), 98-111.

Type of Study: Qualitative study of I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program participants
Number of Participants: 27 children


  • Age — 10 years of age, on average
  • Race/Ethnicity — 86% Caucasian
  • Gender — Not Specified
  • Status — At-risk, traumatized children 6-12 years old in four elementary schools.

Location/Institution: Taylor, Michigan (a core metropolitan city near Detroit)

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
Focus groups were completed with children who participated in a randomized controlled trial of I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program to distinguish those children who showed the greatest improvement and sustained gains after completion of the program, compared to children who demonstrated the least improvement. The children who saw and sustained the greatest gains had an overall greater percentage of resilience and posttraumatic growth (PTG) characteristics cited in the literature. The study indicates that those who had fewer gains would therefore benefit from further interventions focused on characteristics such as connections, continuity, dignity, and opportunities, and activities that support resilience and PTG.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Steele, W., Lemerand, P., Ginns-Gruenberg, D. & Kuban, C. (2007). I Feel Better Now! Trauma Intervention Program. Grosse Pointe Woods, MI: TLC Institute.

Steele, W. & Raider, M. (2009, rev. 2001). Structured Sensory Interventions for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents (SITCAP). New York, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.

Contact Information

Caelan Kuban
Agency/Affiliation: TLC Institute
Website: starr.org/product/i-feel-better-now-program
Phone: (586) 899-5056
Fax: (313) 885-1861

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2021

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2009