About TF-CBT

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) is a mental health treatment model designed for children ages 3- 18 who are experiencing difficulties after trauma exposure such as sexual abuse, exposure to violence, or a natural disaster. TF-CBT was developed by Judy Cohen, M.D., Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D. and Esther Deblinger, Ph.D.

TF-CBT is an evidenced-based intervention that is a SAMHSA best practice in the treatment of childhood posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Features of TF-CBT:

  • Treatment is short-term. On average, TF-CBT is completed over 18-24 weekly sessions.
  • TF-CBT is skills–based. Families are taught many skills in sessions, such as relaxation, to reduce trauma-related distress. In order for treatment to be effective, therapists will also ask children and caregivers to practice and use these skills at home and other places where stress may occur.
  • TF-CBT involves the family. Caregivers are actively included in treatment with their child and are key to successful outcomes. Typically, therapists in each TF-CBT session will spend individual time with the child, check in separately with the caregiver, and include combined family time. However, when a child does not have a caregiver who can be involved in treatment, TF-CBT treatment can still be effective in reducing childhood trauma symptoms.
  • Sessions will be structured. TF-CBT therapists will have a planned focus for each session to cover skills and activities known to be important for reducing distress related to trauma.
  • Treatment will be engaging to the family! TF-CBT therapists will strive to be creative and tailor activities to engage children and provide an enjoyable and safe treatment experience.


Keystones Trainings

Keystones trainings provide intensive training in CSEC-specific applications of TF-CBT with youth and their families who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation. This training is for experienced TF-CBT therapists. The purpose of the Keystones Learning Community is to bring together a group of providers who share a foundational knowledge of TF-CBT and a common interest in serving Commercially Sexually Exploited Children. The Keystones Learning Community  collectively builds on participants’ existing knowledge, as well as introduces new learning and activities to enhance clinical skills essential to serving this population. Objectives for this training are for therapists to be able to implement and sustain TF-CBT with CSEC clients and improve outcomes for those who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and their families.

In the Keystones training, participants work together in the learning process and engage in experiential activities such as role plays to enhance learning and reinforce skills. Participants learn about CSEC-specific applications within the PRACTICE framework, for example, CSEC-specific Psychoeducation topics, CSEC-specific maladaptive cognitions and strategies for challenging them, and common issues faced in the development of the Trauma Narrative (TN) with CSEC victims (multiple traumas, lack of or unsupportive caregiver, overcoming reluctance to include CSEC experiences in TN).

Participants also learn about common challenges in treatment with commercially sexually exploited children and adolescents and strategies for addressing them, including client and caregiver engagement difficulties, runaway risk and behavior, maladaptive coping strategies, substance use problems, and TF-CBT in different settings with commercially sexually exploited clients.

Training Details

The Keystones TF-CBT for CSEC Learning Community includes:

  • Two-day in-person training with an approved TF-CBT trainer with specialized knowledge about sex trafficking.
  • Pre-work activities to prepare participants to fully engage in the in-person training.
  • Monthly consultation calls with an approved TF-CBT consultant.
  • Program Evaluation is an essential component to the training. Participants will be expected to participate in evaluation activities.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • TF-CBT Training and Experience
    • Prior participation in a minimum of a two-day TF-CBT training with an approved TF-CBT trainer
    • Prior participation in 9 consultation calls with a TF-CBT trainer following a two-day training
    • Has completed TF-CBT with at least two clients
  • Experience serving victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation or an interest in doing so:
    • Currently serving, or interested in serving, Commercially Sexually Exploited Children.
    • Priority will be given to therapists currently working with commercially sexually exploited children and adolescent clients
    • Has attended the Georgia CJCC 6-hr. Awareness Training for Mental Health Providers or comparable CSEC/DMST Awareness training.

Provider Listing

Therapists who participate in the training will be placed on a list of providers on this website. This list is available to the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia (CACGA) CSEC Response Team and other referral sources (DJJ, DFCS) attempting to link those who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation to quality trauma-focused mental health services. It is expected that training participants will accept reasonable and appropriate referrals within their scope of service and payment structure.