Last reviewed: 2023
Intended Outcomes:TF-CBT is a structured, short-term treatment model that effectively improves a range of trauma-related outcomes in 8-25 sessions with the child/adolescent and caregiver. Although TF-CBT is highly effective at improving youth posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and diagnosis, a PTSD diagnosis is not required in order to receive this treatment. TF-CBT also effectively addresses many other trauma impacts, including affective (e.g., depressive, anxiety), cognitive and behavioral problems, as well as improving the participating parent’s or caregiver’s personal distress about the child’s traumatic experience, effective parenting skills, and supportive interactions with the child.
Continuum of Care:
Anxiety, Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Depression, Trauma
Adult (25+), Childhood (4-12), Early Childhood (0-3), Teen/Adolescent (13-18), Young Adult (19-24)
Community-Based, Congregate Care Facility, Virtual
Significant and well-articulated attention was given to disparities in outcomes
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers.
Master’s degree or above, certification required
Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info
Who can provide the required training?
Approved national trainer, a treatment developer, or an approved national, regional, or state TF-CBT Learning Collaborative of at least six months.
Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:
Stewart, R. W., Orengo-Aguayo, R., Young, J., Wallace, M. M., Cohen, J. A., Mannarino, A. P., & de Arellano, M. A. (2020). Feasibility and effectiveness of a telehealth service delivery model for treating childhood posttraumatic stress: A community-based, open pilot trial of trauma-focused cognitive–behavioral therapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 30(2), 274.
Peters, W., Rice, S., Cohen, J., Smith, N. B., McDonnell, C. G., Winch, A., Nicasio, A. V., Zeifman, R. J., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., & Bendall, S. (2022, June 9). Subjective Distress, Self-Harm, and Suicidal Ideation or Behavior Throughout Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Transitional Age Youth. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication.http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/
Peters, W., Rice, S., Cohen, J., Murray, L., Schley, C., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., & Bendall, S. (2021).
Trauma-focused cognitive–behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) for interpersonal trauma in transitional-aged youth. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 13(3), 313.
Ascienzo, S., Sprang, G., & Royse, D. (2022). Gender differences in the PTSD symptoms of polytraumatized youth during isolated phases of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Psychological trauma: theory, research, practice, and policy, 14(3), 488.
Jensen, T. K., Holt, T., Mørup Ormhaug, S., Fjermestad, K. W., & Wentzel-Larsen, T. (2018).
Change in post-traumatic cognitions mediates treatment effects for traumatized youth—A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65(2), 166.
Wymer, B., Ohrt, J. H., Morey, D., & Swisher, S. (2020). Integrating expressive arts techniques into trauma-focused treatment with children. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 42(2), 124-139.
Rith-Najarian, L. R., Triplett, N. S., Weisz, J. R., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2021). Identifying intervention strategies for preventing the mental health consequences of childhood adversity: A modified Delphi study. Development and psychopathology, 33(2), 748-765.
Well-Supported by Research
»WV Ratings Info
Rationale for Rating:
TF-CBT has been well studied and in each article found all indicated significant improvement in PTSD symptoms.
Contraindications or Concerns:
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Well-Supported by Research Evidence
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry
Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Effective - More than one study
Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Found on the registry. See link for more information.
Washington State Institute for Public Policy Registry Link: