Trauma Focused Coping: Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Children and Adolescents with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after Single-Incident Trauma

Problem(s) Addressed by Treatment
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or symptoms)
Other: Anger
Other: External Locus of Control

Program Summary
Trauma Focused Coping (TFC) is a group cognitive behavioral therapy treatment program for children and adolescents with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and collateral symptoms of depression, anxiety, anger, and external locus of control originating from single-incident trauma. Based on social learning theory, TFC uses a group .skills-oriented. cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach and involves 14 weekly sessions in which the first few sessions lay the groundwork for the child to think differently about PTSD. The treatment model is one of graded exposure, and begins with psychoeducation and cognitive therapy before moving to more exposure-based activities. TFC has two overall goals: 1) to help the child organize an accurate trauma narrative that places the trauma in the past and is without cognitive distortions, and 2) to promote behavior consistent with the view that the world is no longer dangerous when threat is truly absent.

Each child completes a narrative Chapter Book that tells his or her story, including an accurate telling of the trauma history, its effects on the child's life, and successes in overcoming that history so that the child can live as comfortably as possible in the present. Session components include: psychoeducation, cognitive therapy, exposure-based behavior therapy, generalization training, and relapse prevention. TFC also offers developmentally appropriate treatment adaptations for elementary school-age children and junior high school adolescents including therapeutic modalities such as storybooks, narrative exposure, cognitive games, and peer modeling.

Program Evaluation/Results
An evaluation of TFC was conducted in elementary and junior high school settings after a community disaster. The evaluation results published in a 1998 study used a single case across-time-and-setting experimental design in 4 schools (2 elementary and 2 junior high) over an 18-week period. Participating children and clinicians completed assessment instruments at baseline, post-treatment (18 weeks later) and at 6-month follow-up. Participants included children in grades 4 through 9 (age range 10-15 yrs).

Of the 14 participants who completed treatment, 57% no longer met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD immediately after treatment and 86% were free of PTSD at the 6-month follow-up. Treatment also produced reductions in depression, anxiety, and anger and resulted in children.s locus of control moving from external to internal between post-treatment and the 6-month follow-up.


Age Range
6-10 years
11-14 years
15-18 years

Treatment Components
Group Therapy
Intersession Assignment (homework)

Treatment Participants


Duration of Treatment
14 Weeks, 14 Sessions (50-60 minutes each)

Treatment Providers
Licensed Professionals

Staffing Requirements/Training

Groups can be conducted by clinician supervisors and therapists with: a master’s degree or higher, general CBT experience, and understanding of childhood PTSD and related symptoms. Assessment of the organization (school and/or clinic) for intervention readiness is also recommended.

It is intended that this program be implemented by mental health professionals with appropriate education, training, credentialing, and experience treating the target population.

Availability of Treatment Program Materials
Replication kit including all treatment program materials available for purchase from Sociometrics.



The CEDETA Treatment Package for this program costs $325 and includes:

1 CEDETA User's Guide 1 Child Treatment manual
1 Photocopy masters of handouts 1 Chapter Book
1 Reference copy of the available evaluation instruments used during the original study 1 Reference copy of the age-appropriate PedsQL™ instruments

Sociometrics CEDETA materials are restricted to qualified purchasers in accordance with the ethical and professional standards of the American Psychological Association. CEDETA materials are therefore, only available for purchase by mail, phone or fax. For further details, see the purchaser requirements, or click below to download a qualification/order form.

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