Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC)

Scientific Rating:
3
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
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 Coping (TFC) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Trauma Treatment - Client-Level Interventions (Child & Adolescent).

Target Population: Children and adolescents in schools who have suffered a traumatic exposure (e.g., disaster, violence, murder, suicide, fire, accidents)

For children/adolescents ages: 9 – 18

Brief Description

TFC targets the internalizing effects of exposure to trauma in children and adolescents, with an emphasis on treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the collateral symptoms of depression, anxiety, anger, and an external locus of control [i.e., tendency to attribute one’s experiences to fate, chance, or luck]. The intervention utilizes social learning theory and a skills-oriented cognitive-behavioral approach that is carried out in 14-week sessions of gradual exposure, moving from psycho-education, anxiety management skill building, and cognitive coping training to finally trauma narrative and cognitive restructuring activities.


Program Goals:

The goals of Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) are:

  • Reduction/end of PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms
  • Reduced anger expression
  • A move to internal locus of control (i.e., tendency to believe that one has control one’s own destiny)

Essential Components

The essential components of Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) include:

  • Psychoeducation
  • Anxiety Management
  • Anger Coping
  • Grief Management
  • Individual Pull-outs (Narrative Exposure)
  • Group Narrative Exposure
  • Affective Processing
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Group Intervention (with 4-10 participants per group)

Child/Adolescent Services

Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • PTSD, depression, anxiety, and anger
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Family members must be aware and supportive of their child’s involvement in the school or clinic based groups.  Meeting with family members prior to starting the group, midway, and at the end of treatment is encouraged.In schools, guidance counselors or school social workers can co-lead the TFC groups with a clinician. Principals can attend last session to hand out celebratory certificates.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Residential Care Facility
  • School

Homework

Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) includes a homework component:

Every session children are assigned skills to practice which are reviewed in following session.

Languages

Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) has materials available in a language other than English:

French

For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Manuals, space, trained personnel, flip charts, and blackboard/dry erase board

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Mental health provider with a Master’s Degree and license are required for the group lead. Co-lead can be Bachelor's level guidance counselor. TFC is a trauma-specific cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) model with the majority of the same practice components of other trauma-specific CBT evidence-based models. Experience with these models serves as an excellent resource prior or in augmentation of TFC.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contacts:
  • Ernestine Briggs-King, PhD, Director, Trauma Evaluation and Treatment Program
    Duke University Medical Center
    dept.: Trauma Evaluation and Treatment Program

    phone: (919) 419-3474 x228
  • Robert Murphy, PhD, Executive Director
    Duke University Medical Center
    dept.: Center for Child and Family Health

    phone: (919) 419-3474 x291
Training is obtained:

Clinicians with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aptitude and work with schools may only need the treatment manual and accompanying implementation manual. In addition, 2-day trainings with/without additional phone consultation are available on-site.

Number of days/hours:

This is negotiable—1-2 days is the usual.

Implementation Information

Since Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) as listed below:

The prework tool is the Organizational Readiness and Capacity Assessment developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) which is done with agency/school staff.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) as listed below:

Duke's Evidence-Based Practice Center or the Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH) would be able to provide the platform via a Learning Collaborative, clinical consultation, and/or implementation consultation. Based on the interest and needs of the requesting agency, school, or organization, training packages can be offered that center primarily around clinical workshops with accompanying training materials and clinical consultation calls, with additional consultation available that works with administrative leadership and focuses on key implementation drivers. Larger scale trainings of at least 5 agencies can consider use of a Learning Collaborative which involves 2-3 face to face sessions, cross-collaborative activities, and progress-monitoring metrics.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) as listed below:

In the implementation manual, there is a Trauma Focused Coping Fidelity Checklist measure that supervisors and/or clinicians can use for each session and total fidelity at the end.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC) as listed below:

An implementation manual has been created and has sections for Program Administrators, School Teams, Clinical Supervisors, and prework on obtaining buy-in within and outside schools /agencies along with information on what it takes to make implementation successful. It is available from the developer (see contact information at end of entry).

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "3 - Promising Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list study) establishing the practice's benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

March, J. S., Amaya-Jackson, L., Murray, M. C., & Schulte, A. (1998). Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder after a single-incident stressor. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37(6), 585-593.

Type of Study: Single case across time and setting design
Number of Participants: 17

Population:

  • Age — 10-15 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 8 Caucasians, 7 African Americans, 1 Asian, and 1 American Indian
  • Gender — 10 Females and 5 Males
  • Status — Participants were children and adolescents in grades 4 through 9 with PTSD symptoms.

Location/Institution: Two elementary and two junior high schools in a small Southeastern town

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study evaluated the efficacy of an 18-week group-administered cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy protocol [now called Trauma-Focused Coping] using a single case across time and setting for pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a single-incident stressor. Children were measured at baseline, posttreatment, and at 6-month follow-up using the Child and Adolescent Trauma Survey (CATS), Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale-Child and Adolescent Version (CAPS-C), Clinical Global Improvement Scale, Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC), Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI), State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, and the Nowicki-Strickland “What I Am Like” scale. Results indicated significant improvements in PTSD, depression, anxiety, and anger symptoms and additional improvement at 6-month follow-up for all symptoms as well as locus of control. Limitations included small sample size and lack of randomization.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months.

Amaya-Jackson, L., Reynolds, V., Murray, C. M., McCarthy, G., Nelson, A., Cherney, M. S., Lee, R., Foa, E., & March, J. S. (2003). Cognitive-behavioral treatment for pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder: Protocol and application in school and community settings. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 10, 204-213.

Type of Study: One-group pretest-posttest design
Number of Participants: 7

Population:

  • Age — 10-15 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms referred from an outpatient mental health clinic specializing in trauma treatment.

Location/Institution: Southeastern United States

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study evaluated the efficacy of a 14-session multimodality trauma treatment protocol (MMTT) [now called Trauma-Focused Coping (TFC)] in a sample of children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma symptoms. Participants were assigned to receive group or individual treatment. Participants were assessed for PTSD symptoms using the Child and Adolescent Trauma Survey (CATS) and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale-Child and Adolescent Version (CAPS-C). Results indicated that MMTT implemented in community mental health clinical settings may be an effective treatment for PTSD and trauma symptoms. Limitations included small sample size and lack of control or comparison group.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months.

References

Amaya-Jackson, L., Reynolds, V., Murray, C. M., McCarthy, G., Nelson, A., Cherney, M. S., … March, J. S. (2003). Cognitive-behavioral treatment for pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder: Protocol and application in school and community settings. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 10, 204-213.

Berthiaume, C. & et Turgeon, L. (2004). Application d’un traitement cognitivo-comportemental auprès d’un enfant présentant un trouble de stress post-traumatique. Symposium au Congrès de l’Association française des thérapies cognitivo-comportementales, Paris, France.

Michael, K. D., Hill, R., Hudson, M. L. & Furr, R. M. (2002, October). Adjunctive manualized treatment of sexually traumatized youth in a residential milieu: Preliminary results from a small randomized controlled trial. Paper presented at the Kansas Conference in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Lawrence, KS.

Contact Information

Name: Lisa Amaya-Jackson, MD, MPH
Agency/Affiliation: Duke School of Medicine
Department: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress; Duke Evidence-based Practice Implementation Center
Email:
Phone: (919) 613-9851 or (919) 613-9898

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: September 2011