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Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents
Allegheny General Hospital, Four Allegheny Center
Pittsburg, PA 15212
Contact Information


Program Specifications



Age/Grade Level:

Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School





Target Settings:

Rural, Urban, Suburban, Inner City

Target Groups:


Other Participation Criteria:



Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral (TF-CBT) is a psychotherapeutic intervention designed to help children, youth, and their parents overcome the negative effects of traumatic life events such as child sexual or physical abuse; traumatic loss of a loved one; domestic, school, or community violence; or exposure to disasters, terrorist attacks, or war trauma. It was developed by integrating cognitive and behavioral interventions with traditional child abuse therapies that focus on enhancement of interpersonal trust and empowerment. It targets symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which often co-occurs with depression and behavior problems. The intervention also addresses issues commonly experienced by traumatized children, such as poor self-esteem, difficulty trusting others, mood instability, and self-injurious behavior, including substance use.

Program Descriptors Include:

Family/Parental Involvement, Life Skills Training

Program Rating:

Moderate Evidence

Starting Year:


Students Served Per Year:

Last Verified:

March 19th, 2009

Strategies for Locating Students:


Reenrolled Students with Disabilities:


Risk Factors

Program addresses the following:

Individual Factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High-risk social behavior

Family Factors

  • Not living with both natural parents
  • Family disruption

Protective Factors

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Involvement with positive peer activities


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards
  • Positive/resilient temperament

Program Resources

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is or per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Counselors, Social Workers, Parents

Materials Used:

Instructional Texts/Manuals

Supporting/Partner Organizations:

Evaluation Information

Description of Program Impact:
There have been several randomized controlled trials demonstrating the efficacy of TF-CBT in children of various ages. Children treated through TF-CBT had significantly fewer behavior problems and significantly fewer posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Studies have found that a year after treatment, compared with children who received supportive therapy, children who received TF-CBT had significantly less acting-out behavior and greater improvement in defiant and oppositional behaviors.

How Evaluation Data Was Collected:
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level

Additional Evaluation Information: