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Abuse Treatment: Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

AbuseTrauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) has been found to be an effective treatment for sexually abused children.[1] Jointly developed by two groups of researchers, treatment outcomes for sexually abused children have been positive, as it works to resolve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive symptoms, anxiety, and self-blame, as well as building up safety and trust.1

There are several core components of TF-CBT, completed over 12 treatment sessions, including affective modulation skills, individualized stress-management skills, creating a trauma narrative, cognitive processing, safety skills, education about healthy sexuality, and psychoeducation about child abuse and PTSD.1 The goal is to put the abuse into context, so that the child does not have a primary identity of a victim.1

Cohen and Mannarino conducted two studies: one with 67 sexually abused preschool children and a second with 82 children and young adolescents.1 Among treatments in both studies, TF-CBT was superior to nondirective supportive therapy (NST) in improving depression and social competence, shame, behavior problems, interpersonal trust, and PTSD.1 Parents who chose to take part in the therapy also showed improvements in depression, emotional distress, and effective parenting practices.1



[1] Cohen, J., Deblinger, E., & Mannarino, A. (2004, September 1). Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Sexually Abused Children. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from www.psychiatrictimes.com/child-sexual-abuse/trauma-focused-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-sexually-abused-children/page/0/1

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