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TF-CBT is an evidence-base treatment for children and adolescents ages 3-18 who have experienced single, multiple, and complex trauma. TF-CBT helps caregivers and youth more fully understand how traumatic experiences can affect every day functioning and overall well-being. It provides stabilization, enhances coping skills, and gradually helps the client to make meaning of and process events. As impactful experiences occur, it can leave lasting affects on the body’s response to similar stimuli, which can trigger subsequent responses not unlike when the original event took place.


Over time, our body can become sensitized so that a trauma-response can be elicited very easily. Through TF-CBT, it focuses on gradually desensitizing those responses to bring the body to a new sense of calm. Additionally, TF-CBT helps to identify ways in which impactful events could have altered a person’s sense of safety and beliefs about themselves, working to correct inaccurate conclusions and replace them with more accurate ones.    

Core Principles of TF-CBT

1. Psychological concerns are based, in part, on the body becoming sensitized to trauma reminders and can elicit trauma-responses with increasing frequency. 

2. Psychological concerns are based, in part, on changes in the way the person sees themselves, others, and their safety.


3. People can learn more effective ways to process difficult events and minimize their impact on daily functioning and wellbeing.

Common Symptoms  

  • Difficulties having flashbacks or nightmares of past events

  • Feeling keyed up, on edge, or hypervigilant in certain situations

  • Getting dysregulated more easily and having a hard time calming down

  • Avoiding people, places, or events that remind you of past experiences

  • Developing new fears that weren’t present prior to the event

  • Feeling angry, sad, or numb 

  • Feeling “out of it” or less present

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