Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

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Scientific Rating:
Well-Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) has been rated by the CEBC in the areas of: Anxiety Treatment (Child & Adolescent) and Trauma Treatment - Client-Level Interventions (Child & Adolescent).

Target Population: Children with a known trauma history who are experiencing significant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, whether or not they meet full diagnostic criteria. In addition, children with depression, anxiety, and/or shame related to their traumatic exposure. Children experiencing Childhood Traumatic Grief can also benefit from the treatment.

For children/adolescents ages: 3 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 3 – 18

Brief Description

TF-CBT is a conjoint child and parent psychotherapy model for children who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic life events. It is a components-based hybrid treatment model that incorporates trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles.

Program Goals:

The overall goal of TF-CBT is to address symptoms resulting from a specific traumatic experience or experiences. This includes:

  • Improving child PTSD, depressive and anxiety symptoms
  • Improving child externalizing behavior problems (including sexual behavior problems if related to trauma)
  • Improving parenting skills and parental support of the child, and reducing parental distress
  • Enhancing parent-child communication, attachment, and ability to maintain safety
  • Improving child's adaptive functioning
  • Reducing shame and embarrassment related to the traumatic experiences

Contact Information

Judith Cohen, MD
Agency/Affiliation: Allegheny General Hospital, Drexel University College of Medicine
Phone: (412) 330-4321
Fax: (412) 330-4377
Esther Deblinger, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: CARES Institute
Department: Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine
Phone: (856) 566-7036
Fax: (856) 566-2778

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2006