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TF-CBT and how it differs from traditional CBT

Rooted Wisdom Counseling Services, LLC

What is TF-CBT?

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a specialized form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that addresses trauma. Research has shown this form of therapy to be helpful for children and teens between ages 3 and 18. TF-CBT is not a recommended form of treatment for adults, however it shares some similar components with other evidence-based trauma therapies for adults. TF-CBT highlights the importance of caregiver involvement in a child’s therapy in order to help build resilience and trust. If a caregiver contributed to a child’s trauma, they will likely not be involved in the treatment process.

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What to Expect From TF-CBT Therapy

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has a multi-step approach to treatment. Treatment involves providing education about trauma, exploration and development of relaxation skills, skill-building regarding emotions and emotion regulation, cognitive coping strategies (e.g. positive self talk), caregiver skills training, and most importantly, a process called trauma narration. In trauma narration, a child will be asked to create a story about their trauma either through drawings, writing, or play. This process is used to help identify, challenge, and replace inaccurate and unhelpful thoughts in order to reduce one’s trauma-response and symptoms.

How Does TF-CBT Help With Trauma?

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps children learn important self-regulating techniques in order to reduce symptoms. It also calls on components of traditional CBT and helps children identify and replace negative, unhelpful thoughts related to traumatic events in order to attain longer-term stability. Caregiver involvement in treatment helps build trust in a caring adult and helps the caregiver better understand and respond to the unique needs of their child who has experienced trauma.

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My approach to therapy is simple. You are an individual and unique and your therapy should be too. Together, we will work to find the treatment or blend of treatments that suit your needs best.

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