Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is an empirically supported treatment that helps children to overcome trauma related to abuse, violence and grief, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, and domestic violence. There is extensive outcome data documenting the effectiveness of TF-CBT in reducing PTSD symptoms and shame, decreasing depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as disruptive and sexualized behaviors. This treatment includes parents in the process to reduce levels of distress which can improve the quality of the relationship with their child.
TF-CBT goals include:
The goals of TF-CBT are to help clients learn skills to cope with trauma, face trauma and related concerns, as well as progress through life in a safe and positive manner. In therapy sessions the goals may be:
- Helping children cope with trauma related distress through use of healthy coping skills
- Helping children to process their traumatic experiences
- Assisting non-offending caregivers in responding supportively to children’s distress and helping them cope with their own feelings related to the trauma
- Improving communication between caregivers and children
- Reducing children’s behavioral and emotional difficulties
- Enhancing future safety in order to reduce risk of re-victimization
This therapy is for children ages 3 to 18 who have significant behavioral and emotional difficulties related to traumatic life events. TF-CBT has been used effectively with boys and girls from all socioeconomic backgrounds, who are residing in a variety of settings (e.g., with parents/relatives, adoptive or foster placements, group homes), and who are from diverse ethnic and cultural groups. Treatment typically lasts 12 to 16 sessions.
It is important for a child who has been victimized to “process” or make sense of life and we are here to help.