Judith A. Cohen is the creator of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). She has worked for decades helping children and caregivers overcome the devastating effect of abuse and trauma. She is a professor of Psychiatry at Drexel University College of Medicine, and is also the Medical Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children & Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cohen, who is a Board Certified Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, has received numerous awards for her work with children, including one from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, an organization for which she was at one time a member of the board of directors. She currently sits on the board of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and has authored many reports and articles outlining the procedures for treating children with post-traumatic stress.
Cohen has worked with several other experts in her field, including her colleagues Esther Deblinger, Ph.D., and Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D., to test the effectiveness of TF-CBT and has conducted years of research on the treatment of children who have experienced childhood trauma and also on their families. She has been recognized for her accomplishments by several organizations, including the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, which presented her with their Rieger Award for Scientific Achievement in 2004. Cohen continues to research and study the effects of childhood trauma and maintains an active private practice.
Contribution to Psychology
Cohen has been involved in the development of Trauma Focused - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT is an evidence based therapy that is used for the treatment of children who have suffered traumatic experiences. The method is provided for the children, their caretakers or non-offending parents, and other family members in order to lessen the impact of the traumatic event or events and to transform the negative behaviors that arise from it. Children are encouraged to reveal the details of their abuse or trauma, and work with the therapist to learn how to perceive the event in a less harmful and psychologically destructive way. Parents and family members are also given the appropriate tools and resources in order to lessen any psychological implications the trauma has had to the child.
TF-CBT combines humanistic and familial techniques with traditional cognitive behavioral applications in order to provide emotional and psychological support and transformation to anyone affected by a traumatic event or abuse. Children and family members learn how to accurately and positively process and understand the events that have occurred and are taught how to cope with negative mood states as a result of the event. TF-CBT has been shown to be especially effective in adolescents who have suffered repeated episodes of abuse or one traumatic event. TF-CBT is also helpful for those dealing with accepting the death of a loved one.