Author: Lupe Schneider
Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavior Therapy or TF-CBT is a researched-based therapeutic intervention for youth ages 3 to 18 and their parents. It is designed to help with the impact of traumatic events, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, community violence, unexpected death of a loved one, natural disasters and war.
The focus of treatment is to assist the youth to develop coping skills for traumatic stress reactions and to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety or acting out behavior which are all common reactions for youth exposed to trauma.
Other common reactions to trauma are inability or unwillingness to recall trauma details; emotional numbing; recalling physical sensations of the trauma; difficulty sitting still or fidgeting; sleeping routine is disturbed (such as not wanting to sleep alone, nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night); changes in mood; difficulty concentrating; low self-esteem; inability to trust others; drug/alcohol use; and suicidal/homicidal ideation. If any of these symptoms were present prior to the trauma, the symptoms may become worse.
The parents are taught the same skills including parenting skills which will help them help their youth to recover from trauma.
TF-CBT treatment typically lasts between 8 to 16 sessions but if there are complex trauma (meaning more than one trauma event) sessions will be increased to 16 to 25 sessions. Of course, each case is different, and sessions will depend on the individual youth and family. Each hour session will be divided between the youth the parent and conjoint sessions with both youth and parent with some changes depending on each case.
Research shows that for youth ages 3 to 18, TF-CBT is more effective in helping youth overcome trauma than other therapeutic interventions. Studies have also shown that parents’ willingness to participate throughout the treatment improves the youth’s ability to decrease the symptoms of trauma.
The faster a youth receives help after the trauma the less likely they are to have problems at school, to have conflicts with others, to isolate, etc. The longer the symptoms are left untreated the more it will affect the youth’s development process.
A TF-CBT trained therapist can help you and your youth decide if this therapy is appropriate for your family. An assessment will be completed prior to beginning TF-CBT and all assessments will be explained to both youth and parent so that they can make the best decision for their family.
Lupe Schneider has worked with clients with a wide variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, grief, trauma, adjustment, divorce and other mental and behavioral problems. She was an approved Cognitive Behavior Therapist via the Beck Institute while employed at Texas Panhandle Centers.
Lupe serves as Team Leader for Texas Panhandle Centers Disaster Team; formerly the Red Cross Mental Health Team.She also services as a Batterer’s Intervention Program Facilitator and has been trained and approved as a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor.