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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.

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.

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