Trauma focused CBT for children with co-occurring trauma and behavior problems

Child Abuse Negl. 2010 Apr;34(4):215-24. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.12.003. Epub 2010 Mar 20.


Objective: Childhood trauma impacts multiple domains of functioning including behavior. Traumatized children commonly have behavioral problems that therapists must effectively evaluate and manage in the context of providing trauma-focused treatment. This manuscript describes practical strategies for managing behavior problems in the context of trauma-focused evidence-based treatment (EBT) using a commonly implemented EBT for traumatized children.

Methods: The empirical literature is reviewed and practical strategies are described for conducting trauma- and behavioral-focused assessments; engaging families in trauma- and behavioral-focused treatment; treatment-planning that includes a balance of both trauma and behavioral foci; managing ongoing behavioral problems in the context of providing trauma-focused treatment; managing behavioral crises ("crises of the week"); addressing overwhelming family or social problems; and steps for knowledge transfer.

Results: Trauma-focused EBT that integrate behavioral management strategies can effectively manage the behavioral regulation problems that commonly occur in traumatized children.

Conclusions: Addressing trauma-related behavioral problems is an important part of trauma-focused treatment and is feasible to do in the context of using common trauma-focused EBT.

Practice implications: Integrating effective behavioral interventions into trauma-focused EBT is essential due to the common nature of behavioral regulation difficulties in traumatized children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / therapy*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Education
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Family Therapy
  • Humans
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Transfer, Psychology