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.


For Providers

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: Child Sex Trafficking Webinar Series
This rotating webinar series focuses on a host of topics related to child sex trafficking, including fundamentals of CSEC, the global perspective, male and LGBTQ victims, technology, supply and demand and medical evaluations. These webinars are free and occur fairly regularly, once or twice a month.

TF-CBTWeb: Medical University of South Carolina National Crime Victim Research and Treatment Center Carolina
CPTWeb is a web-based multi-media, training course for mental health providers seeking to learn Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD. CPTWeb is specifically designed to teach clinicians about using CPT with military and veteran clients. It teaches all of the components of CPT using concise explanations, video demonstrations, and clinical scripts. Common clinical challenges and cultural considerations are discussed for each component.

CTGWeb (http://ctg.musc.edu/) is a follow-up training course to TF-CBTWeb that teaches therapists how to apply TF-CBT to cases of child traumatic grief. It is also web-based, modular, and multimedia.

TF-CBTConsult (http://etl2.library.musc.edu/tf-cbt-consult/) quickly provides online, automated clinical consultation to therapists using TF-CBT. Users can enter a question or set of keywords to screen a long list of commonly asked consultation questions concerning TF-CBT.

Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress
HCSATS provides an array of training and resources for medical and mental health professionals serving persons impacted by sexual assault and other traumatic events. Their resource page contains a number of useful tools, including fact sheets, brochures, other therapy resources, and helpful links for professionals.

Girls Educational & Mentoring Service (GEMS)
GEMS serves girls and young women in New York State who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Resources available on their webpage include links to publications regarding US programs, policy, and legislation; media and culture; media and print resources; research; and other helpful web links.

For Caregivers

Information about Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
The resources and fact sheets below provide helpful information on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children to help caregivers better understand the scope of the problem, factors associated with risk of exploitation, and the experience of youth who have been exploited.

Shared Hope International (Factsheet)
Shared Hope International is an organization that strives to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking,restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children. One of their focused efforts is awareness of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in communities to inspire individuals to be informed activists that will combat societal norms, misconceptions, and ignorance. Shared Hope International FAQs

Innocence Lost Project
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Innocence Lost project is an initiative to address the growing issue of domestic minor sex trafficking. The major partners in the Innocence Lost Project are the FBI and local law enforcement agencies. A working group of this project created this factsheet. To view, please click here.

Polaris Project – Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel
The Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel reflects the experiences of trafficking victims and the power and control strategies of exploiters that contribute to and perpetuate exploitation. This document may be especially helpful for caregivers seeking an understanding of the difficult experiences of exploited youth and why youth remain with or return to their exploiter(s).

Internet Safety
The internet and related technologies have changed the way people connect and interact with one another. While there are many safety advantages and emerging enhancements to technology that increase safety, there are also significant safety risks and concerns. It is important for caregivers to be aware of both strategies for employing technology to increase safety and also to understand the risks. Here are some resources to help you protect your children as they use the internet.

  • Connected Safely – Connected safely has internet safety and advice for parents and teens as well as parental guides to some of the most popular social media sites used by teens such as instagram and snapchat.

CSEC Serving Organizations

Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery.

Shared Hope International
Shared Hope International was founded in 1998 when U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith traveled into the heart of the brothel district in Mumbai, India where she witnessed the brutal exploitation and sexual slavery of women and children. Shared Hope International strives to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children.

MISSEY: Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting, and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth
MISSSEY is a community-based organization in Alameda County, CA, founded in 2007 to respond to this heartbreaking epidemic of sexual exploitation. We provide comprehensive services in a safe environment to support and serve sexually exploited youth. We also work to provide information to the community and government about the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

CAASE- Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
CAASE addresses the culture, institutions, and individuals that perpetrate, profit from, or support sexual exploitation. Our work includes prevention, policy reform, community engagement, and legal services.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
Thirty years ago, police could enter information about stolen cars, stolen guns, even stolen horses into the FBI’s crime database – but not stolen children. Congress enacted the Missing Children’s Act in 1982 which enabled the entry of missing child information into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database, known as NCIC. Former President Ronald Reagan officially opened the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® in 1984, and in 1990 the Adam Walsh Outreach Center merged with NCMEC. NCMEC operates the CyberTipline, the 911 of the Internet, to receive reports of suspected child sexual exploitation.