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TFCBT Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TFCBT) is specifically targeted to reduce the distress and increase the coping abilities of youth who have experienced both acute and chronic traumas. Therapy teaches and coaches relaxation, affect regulation and cognitive coping skills to youth who have experienced traumatic events. Once the youth have learned and practiced calming skills, our psychotherapists help them apply the skills to the traumatic memories that interfere with functioning. Desensitization helps youth shed intense emotional reactivity to trauma reminders and grow calmer and more focused.
Nine modules focus on skill building for tolerating and managing distress and desensitization to memories of the traumatic event(s).
The nine modules are identified by the acronym PPRACTICE and include:
Psychoeducation - teaching the fundamentals of how the emotional brain works.
Parent Training - teaching/coaching adult caretakers the same concepts and skills as youth.
Relaxation Skill Building - teaching/coaching relaxation skills and helping youth set up a regular home practice.
Affect Regulation Training - teaching/coaching self-monitoring of emotional distress and methods to tolerate or decrease distress.
Cognitive Coping Skill Practice - teaching/coaching cognitive strategies to understand and manage emotional distress.
Trauma Narrative - guiding youth to create/write a history of their traumatic experiences including the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that accompanied or resulted from the experiences.
In-vivo Mastery of Trauma Reminders or Desensitization - Repeatedly re-reading the trauma narrative and pairing a calm, relaxed state with the traumatic memories. This helps to reduce overwhelming emotional reactions to memories of the trauma(s).
Conjoint Child-Parent Sessions - the youth and adult caretakers review the trauma narrative together while practicing competence in the face of the traumatic memories.
Enhancing Future Safety - the youth, adult caretakers and TFCBT therapist create ongoing behavior plans that ensure and support a safe and comfortable therapeutic environment both during and after the TFCBT.
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based treatment for youth with post-traumatic distress symptoms. Cohen, Berliner & Mannarino (2010) reviewed the successful use of TFCBT therapy in treating traumatized youth who showed marked behavior and emotional dysregulation. Therapeutic effects can be measured in terms of reduced PTSD symptoms, reduced frequency and intensity of behavior problems and an increase in the ability to notice, prevent and reduce emotional distress.
One expectation is that youth will be able to tolerate frustration and distress without losing control over their emotions or behaviors. Previous studies have shown a reduction in symptoms such as physical aggression, anxiety, depression, self injurious behavior, disturbing nightmares, sleep problems and repetitive cycles of negative behavior.