What is TF-CBT?

Based on principles of cognitive behavior therapy and trauma treatment, Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavior Therapy—or TF-CBT—was developed by Drs. Judy Cohen, Esther Deblinger, and Anthony Mannarino. This site is based very closely on their treatment manual. We encourage you to purchase the books describing the treatment as part of your learning experience. References for these books and links for their purchase can be found in the Resources section of this site.

TF-CBT consists of several core treatment components that are designed to be provided in a flexible and developmentally appropriate manner to address the unique needs of each child and family. Specifically, TF-CBT is a short-term treatment that may work in as few as 12 treatment sessions. Of course, treatment may be provided for longer periods depending on the child and family’s needs. Individual sessions for the child and for the parents, as well as joint parent-child sessions address the following:

  • Providing education to children and their caregivers about the impact of trauma on children and common childhood reactions to trauma
  • Helping children and parents identify and cope with a range of emotions
  • Developing personalized stress management skills for children and parents
  • Teaching children and parents how to recognize the connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  • Encouraging children to share their traumatic experiences either verbally, in the form of a written narrative, or in some other developmentally appropriate manner.
  • Helping children and parents talk with each other about the traumatic experiences
  • Modifying children’s and parents’ inaccurate or unhelpful trauma-related thoughts, and
  • Helping parents develop skills for optimizing their children’s emotional and behavioral adjustment

Once you complete the course, you can return whenever you like to review techniques, print out scripts, watch videos, and refresh your learning.

Click for more information on TF-CBT.