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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy


Trauma-focused means treatment focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning, using different techniques to help individuals process their traumatic experience. Some techniques involve visualizing, talking or thinking about the traumatic memory. Others focus on changing unhelpful beliefs about the trauma.

TF-CBT works mostly for children, adolescents and young adults (ages 3 to 21) with symptoms of PTSD, fear, anxiety or depression related to trauma. It can be used with those who have experienced a single trauma or multiple traumas in their lives.


    • Average 12-25 sessions, in single and group formats and divided between youth and parent/caregiver, some with both youth and parent.
    • Can be modified for culture or group experiences (such as, Latino, Native American, deaf and hearing impaired, military).
    • Addresses trauma type (sexual abuse, domestic violence, traumatic grief, disaster, terrorism, multiple or complex traumas).
    • Addresses domains of trauma, based on its impact: PTSD, depression, anxiety or problems with behavior, relationships or attachment, school, cognition. 
    • Teaches skills for regulating emotions, behavior, thoughts and relationships, trauma processing.
    • Teaches skills for enhancing safety, trust, parenting skills and family communication.

Key components of TF-CBT: 

    • Establishing a therapeutic relationship with youth and parent
    • Use of gradual exposure response prevention (ERP)
    • Psychoeducation about child trauma and trauma reminders
    • Parenting skills
    • Relaxation skills for youth and parent
    • Affective processing, related to feelings and responses—positive and negative—arising from or influencing emotion
    • Cognitive coping: connecting thoughts, feelings and behaviors
    • Traumatic grief and mastery of trauma reminders
    • Enhancing safety for youth’s future development

Learn more about CFI’s treatment options for PTSD and trauma-related concerns…



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