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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Helping Children & Families Heal in the Aftermath of Trauma

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), developed by Co-Director Esther Deblinger, PhD, in collaboration with Drs. Judith Cohen and Anthony Mannarino, is an empirically supported treatment model that has been evaluated and refined over the past 18 years to help children overcome trauma related to abuse, violence and grief. This treatment approach has been recognized by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a model program due to the extensive outcome data supporting its effectiveness. While TF-CBT was primarily developed for addressing the needs of children who have suffered sexual abuse, the model has been adapted for use with children who have suffered a variety of traumatic experiences, such as physical abuse, exposure to domestic violence and traumatic grief.

The goals of this treatment model for children who have suffered traumatic events include:

• Teaching children and their non-offending caregivers adaptive coping skills

• Assisting children to emotionally and cognitively process their traumatic experiences

• Reducing the emotional and behavioral reactions exhibited by children

• Facilitating children's adjustment to placement when needed

• Assisting non-offending caregivers in responding to their child's reactions as well as helping them cope with their own feelings related to the trauma(s)

• Working with caregivers and children in joint sessions to improve interaction, enhance communication and practice personal safety skills to help reduce the risk of future victimization

TF-CBT can effectively address a child’s anxiety, depression and behavioral difficulties in 12-16 sessions, and the model can be used in both individual and group therapy formats. Treatment generally consists of parallel sessions with children and their non-offending caregiver(s), as well as joint caregiver-child sessions in the later stages of therapy.  Research has documented that this treatment model effectively helps children and adolescents (ages 3 to 18) overcome post traumatic stress disorder, depression and feelings of shame as well as other behavioral and emotional difficulties.

More information about TF-CBT as well as on-line brief introductory training for mental health clinicians is available at www.musc.edu/tfcbt.

For information about Trauma Focused-CBT training by CARES Institute staff, click here.

To complete Trauma Focused-CBT Training request form, click here.