Do all children who are abused or neglected (or in foster care) need TF-CBT?
No. TF-CBT is specifically designed to treat trauma symptoms. What we know is that some children who go through very difficult experiences will not develop trauma symptoms, and would not need TF-CBT. It is recommended that all children who experience trauma participate in an evaluation to determine if trauma symptoms are present in order to plan effective treatment.
What can I expect if I take my child to a TF-CBT therapist?
Expect therapy to be both hard work and fun. Your therapist will begin by assessing your child for trauma symptoms to determine if TF-CBT is the best treatment. Session time will be structured, although there will always be time for the therapist to check in with you about the past week, he/she will have specific goals and activities to complete with your child (and you) each week. Plan on treatment to last approximately 18-24 weeks.
What if a child doesn’t want to talk about their past?
Not wanting to talk about difficult or painful memories is very common, and understandable! However, it is often healing to be able to face painful memories and allows a child and family to move forward. In TF-CBT, children gradually progress towards talking about their pasts, while learning important coping skills to manage distress. Children are encouraged to talk about their past only when it can be done in a safe and therapeutic way and the child and family are ready.
What training is required for a therapist who wants to provide TF-CBT?
Several key elements are required for a therapist to truly learn any new treatment model. The generally accepted trainings requirements for TF-CBT are for a therapist to attend the 2-day in-person “Introduction to Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavior Therapy” provided by a Master Trainer and to complete at least one TF-CBT case while under consultation with a Master Trainer.
How do I know if a therapist can provide TF-CBT?
We have developed a interactive map (here) to aid families in locating a TF-CBT provider. And you can always ask!
What if a child is acting out sexually? Is TF-CBT appropriate?
Maybe. It would depend on the child’s level of trauma symptoms. Treatment is also available for children who have sexually acting out beaviors without trauma symptoms. A thorough evaluation of trauma history, symptoms, and sexual behaviors would allow a clinician to determine what treatment will be most appropriate.