Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Introduction to TF-CBT

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a specialized, evidence-based treatment designed for children and adolescents aged 3 to 18 who are experiencing significant emotional and psychological distress due to traumatic events. This structured, short-term therapy typically spans 8 to 25 sessions and is tailored to help young individuals process and overcome trauma.

How TF-CBT Works

TF-CBT is a phased treatment that involves participation from both the child and their caregivers, working through steps that systematically address the complex needs associated with trauma. While primarily known for its effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), TF-CBT is also beneficial for children who have not been formally diagnosed with PTSD but show trauma-related symptoms.

Goals of TF-CBT Treatment

The primary objectives of TF-CBT are to:

  • Alleviate PTSD Symptoms: Significantly reduce symptoms of PTSD, including re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance, and hyperarousal.
  • Reduce Depression and Anxiety: Help children cope with depressive and anxiety symptoms related to their traumatic experiences.
  • Improve Behavioral Responses: Address and improve externalizing behavior problems that may arise from trauma.
  • Strengthen Parental Support: Enhance parenting skills, ensuring parents are better equipped to support their child’s emotional and psychological needs.
  • Enhance Family Communication: Improve communication between children and their parents, fostering stronger attachments and a supportive family environment.
  • Reduce Shame and Stigma: Help children overcome feelings of shame or embarrassment connected to their traumatic experiences.

Who Can Benefit From TF-CBT?

TF-CBT is suitable for children and adolescents who have experienced trauma such as:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Severe neglect
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Witnessing violence
  • Natural disasters

The Process of TF-CBT

TF-CBT is conducted in several stages, focusing initially on skills and strategies for mastering emotional regulation and coping with distress. Subsequent phases involve discussing the traumatic event in a safe, controlled environment, and helping the child to reframe and reassimilate their experiences into a healthier outlook.


If you believe your child could benefit from TF-CBT, or if you’ve noticed signs of trauma in their behavior, reaching out can be the first step towards recovery. Contact me today to schedule an initial consultation. Let’s work together to help your child move past trauma and towards a more hopeful future.