We provide trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), a clinic-based individual, short-term treatment that involves individual sessions with the child and parent as well as joint parent and child sessions.

Treatment Objectives

The goal of TF-CBT is to help address the needs of children with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other problems related to traumatic life experiences, along with the needs of a child's parents or primary caregivers. Children and parents are provided knowledge and skills related to processing the trauma; managing distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and enhancing safety, parenting skills, and family communication.

Treatment results in improvements in PTSD symptoms as well as in depression, anxiety, behavior problems, sexualized behaviors, trauma-related shame, interpersonal trust, and social competence.

Treatment Components

Essential components of TF-CBT include:

  • Establishing and maintaining therapeutic relationship with child and parent
  • Psycho-education about childhood trauma and PTSD
  • Emotional regulation skills
  • Individualized stress management skills
  • Connecting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the trauma
  • Assisting the child in sharing a verbal, written, or artistic narrative about the trauma
  • Encouraging gradual in vivo exposure to trauma reminders, if appropriate
  • Cognitive and affective processing of the trauma experiences
  • Education about healthy interpersonal relationships
  • Parental treatment components including parenting skills
  • Joint parent-child sessions to practice skills and enhance trauma-related discussions
  • Personal safety skills training
  • Coping with future trauma reminders

Child Abuse and Neglect Treatment at Primary Children's Hospital