Dr. Hilit Kletter is a licensed child psychologist with specialization in childhood trauma and posttraumatic stress. She has extensive experience
treating a wide range of traumas including physical and sexual abuse, neglect, community and domestic violence, medical trauma, sudden/violent
death, and emotional abuse. Dr. Kletter helped develop and oversees the training program for Stanford Cue-Centered Therapy, a treatment for youth
with chronic trauma. She has experience doing assessments as well as individual, group, and family psychotherapy utilizing evidence-based
practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure, and behavioral management to treat anxiety disorders including posttraumatic stress
disorder, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias. She has worked in a variety of settings such as community
mental health, day-treatment programs, schools, a domestic violence shelter, and outpatient clinics. She provides training and consultation to school
staff and after school programs, community agencies, and youth organizations. In addition, Dr. Kletter supervises undergraduate and
graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and medical students. Dr. Kletter received her BA in anthropology from the University of Washington and was a Koret Foundation Fellow while completing her PhD studies at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Child and Family Guidance Center in Northridge, CA and her post-doctoral fellowship at Kaiser Permanente Child Psychiatry in Milpitas, CA.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Anxiety Disorders
Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
PhD Training: Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (2008) CA
Fellowship: Kaiser Permanente (2009) CA
Internship: Child and Family Guidance Center (2008) CA
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Risk and resiliency factors of childhood posttraumatic stress and development and improvement of treatment interventions.
Cue-Centered Treatment for Youth Exposed to Interpersonal Violence: A Randomized Controlled Trial
JOURNAL OF TRAUMATIC STRESS
2013; 26 (6): 654-662
This study provides preliminary evidence of the feasibility and efficacy of the Stanford cue-centered treatment for reducing posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety in children chronically exposed to violence. Sixty-five youth aged 8–17 years were recruited from 13 schools. Participants were randomly assigned to cue-centered treatment or a waitlist control group. Assessments were conducted at 4 discrete time points. Self-report measures assessed youth symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.Self-report ratings of caregiver anxiety and depression as well as caregiver report of child PTSD were also obtained. Therapists evaluated participants’ overall symptom improvement across treatment sessions. Hierarchal linear modeling analyses showed that compared to the waitlist group, the cue-centered treatment group had greater reductions in PTSD symptoms both by caregiver and child report, as well as caregiver anxiety. Cue-centered treatment, a hybrid trauma intervention merging diverse theoretical approaches, demonstrated feasibility,adherence, and efficacy in treating youth with a history of interpersonal violence.
View details for DOI 10.1002/jts.21870
View details for Web of Science ID 000328566900002
View details for PubMedID 24490236
A Prospective Study on the Association Between Caregiver Psychological Symptomatology and Symptom Clusters of Pediatric Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
JOURNAL OF TRAUMATIC STRESS
2013; 26 (3): 385-391
This study investigated the influence of caregiver psychological symptoms on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in traumatized children. One-hundred eleven children and caretakers were assessed in this study. Children (N = 59) with a history of exposure to interpersonal violence were evaluated for reexperiencing, avoidance/numbing, and hyperarousal symptom clusters using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents (CAPS-CA). The 52 primary caregivers were evaluated using the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) on 9 domains of psychological symptomatology: anxiety, depression, hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoid ideation, phobic anxiety, psychoticism, and somatization. At 14-month follow-up, 45 of the children were re-evaluated with the CAPS-CA. Caregiver psychological symptoms in the domains of anxiety, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and paranoid ideation were associated with less improvement in total pediatric PTSD symptoms. Analysis of PTSD symptoms by cluster showed that greater caregiver symptomatology in the domains of anxiety, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, and obsessive-compulsive disorder were associated with less improvement in the hyperarousal symptom cluster. These results suggest caregiver symptomatology may be specifically associated with hyperarousal symptoms in pediatric trauma.
View details for DOI 10.1002/jts.21816
View details for PubMedID 23737297
- Working with youth exposed to war and violence: recommendations for future research and interventions Child & Youth Care Forum 2013; 42: 371-388
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Shifting Toward a Developmental Framework
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIC CLINICS OF NORTH AMERICA
2012; 21 (3): 573-?
This article reviews the current classification of posttraumatic stress disorder and its limitations when applied to youth. Distinctions are made between single-event and multiple-event traumas. Diagnosis, neurobiology, treatment development, and treatment outcomes are presented. A summary of current empirical interventions is provided. The authors present implications for future research and for clinical practice.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chc.2012.05.004
View details for PubMedID 22800995
BRAIN ACTIVATION TO FACIAL EXPRESSIONS IN YOUTH WITH PTSD SYMPTOMS
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
2012; 29 (5): 449-459
This study examined activation to facial expressions in youth with a history of interpersonal trauma and current posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) compared to healthy controls (HC).Twenty-three medication-naive youth with PTSS and 23 age- and gender-matched HC underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while viewing fearful, angry, sad, happy, and neutral faces. Data were analyzed for group differences in location of activation, as well as timing of activation during the early versus late phase of the block. Using SPM5, significant activation (P < .05 FWE [Family-Wise Error] corrected, extent = 10 voxels) associated with the main effect of group was identified. Activation from selected clusters was extracted to SPSS software for further analysis of specific facial expressions and temporal patterns of activation.The PTSS group showed significantly greater activation than controls in several regions, including the amygdala/hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, insula, and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and less activation than controls in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). These group differences in activation were greatest during angry, happy, and neutral faces, and predominantly during the early phase of the block. Post hoc analyses showed significant Group × Phase interactions in the right amygdala and left hippocampus.Traumatic stress may impact development of brain regions important for emotion processing. Timing of activation may be altered in youth with PTSS.
View details for DOI 10.1002/da.21892
View details for PubMedID 22553009
- Treatment of Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Adolescents Psychiatric Times 2012; 29: 1-8
- Posttraumatic stress disorder: shifting towards a developmental framework Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2012; 21: 573-591
- Update on neuroimaging in maltreatment-related pediatric ptsd: treatment implications Journal of Family Violence 2012; 28: 53-61
Guilt and posttraumatic stress symptoms in child victims of interpersonal violence.
Clinical child psychology and psychiatry
2009; 14 (1): 71-83
Our objective was to examine the relationship between guilt and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in children with a history of interpersonal violence. Eighty-seven children between the ages of 5 and 16 years (mean age = 11.70 years) were administered the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents to assess for PTSD symptoms and associated features. Multiple regression analysis found that guilt over acts of commission or omission (behaviors the child performed or failed to perform during the event or to prevent it) was highly associated with PTSD severity. Derealization and changes in attachment were also significantly related to PTSD symptoms. Findings suggest that it may be important for clinicians to assess for associated features in traumatized children as these are associated with greater PTSD severity. Posttraumatic interventions may benefit from targeting these symptoms.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1359104508100137
View details for PubMedID 19103706
- Dissociation in PTSD Dissociation and the Dissociative Disorders: DSM-V and Beyond Rutledge. 2008: 447–453