Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence based treatment for helping children and teens to work through traumatic events, including childhood physical and sexual abuse. This therapy was developed by Judith Cohen, Anthony Mannarino, and Esther Deblinger.
In the early part of therapy, while getting to know their therapist, children participating in TF-CBT learn relaxation training, how to identify different feelings, and the relationship between their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Eventually, youth enrolled in TF-CBT complete a trauma narrative in which they talk about the abuse. Afterward, their therapist helps them to identify and correct beliefs about themselves and the world that have been distorted by the abuse. Cohen, Mannarino, and Deblinger have completed multiple NIH funded research studies demonstrating the effectiveness of TF-CBT. We highly recommend TF-CBT for child survivors of traumatic events, including physical and sexual abuse.
Dr. Walker has previously published treatment recommendations for a version of TF-CBT that integrates faith into therapy (Walker et al., 2010, Walker, et al, 2015). In this form of TF-CBT, your child’s therapist will assess ways in which their faith has been changed as a result of abuse. Then, we will tailor TF-CBT to your child, depending on how their faith has been impacted. For children whose faith has been exclusively damaged due to abuse, we will hold off discussing faith issues until later in therapy. For other children, all of the TF-CBT modules are adapted to explicitly address faith issues. Subsequently, some modules now incorporate spiritual interventions such as Scripture or prayer in them. In other modules, we incorporate discussion of religious issues, including explicitly addressing spiritual questions or spiritual struggles about the meaning of the abuse.