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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) was developed by Judith Cohen, Anthony Mannarino, and Esther Deblinger. TF-CBT is designed for youth who have experienced a significantly traumatic event. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help people experiencing clinical posttraumatic stress return to a healthy state of functioning after a traumatic event. This therapy is used for the parents or caregivers, children, and adolescents in a way that decreases the negative behavior patterns and emotional responses that occur as a result of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or other trauma.

How Does Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

This form of therapy integrates interventions that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of people experiencing emotional and psychological difficulties as a result of a trauma and combines them with humanistic, cognitive behavioral and familial strategies. Through TF-CBT, both parents and children learn how to process their emotions and thoughts that relate to the traumatic experience. They are given the necessary tools to alleviate overwhelming thoughts that can cause stress, anxiety and depression and are taught how to manage their emotions in a healthier way. The goal of TF-CBT is to allow both the child and the parent to continue to develop their skills and communication techniques in a healthy manner.


Children, Parents, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Children, specifically adolescents, who are suffering severe emotional repercussions due to trauma respond extremely well to this technique. The therapy helps children who have experienced repeated episodes of trauma, as in abuse or neglect, or those who have suffered one occurrence of sudden trauma in their lives. Children who are learning to cope with the death of a loved one can also benefit greatly from TF-CBT.


A secure and stable environment is provided that enables the child to disclose the details of the trauma and it is at this time that the cognitive and learning theories of treatment are applied. The child is shown his distorted perceptions and is given the tools to redesign those attributes relating to the trauma. Parents, who are not the abusers, are also given the resources and skills necessary to help their children cope with the psychological ramifications of the abuse.


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Last updated: 05-27-2014


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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy