Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson, Ph.D., LISW


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to examine current literature on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in order to identify the effectiveness of this treatment on children and adolescents who suffer from complex trauma and exhibit Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS). An inclusion criterion was created to capture studies that used TF-CBT or similar CBT techniques with this population. A systematic review research design was utilized resulting in 11 studies meeting criteria and these articles were then analyzed. The findings of the included studies were extracted and then divided into five distinct categories based on the PTSD/PTSS instrument used. The results measured statistically significant reductions in PTSD/ PTSS following the use of TF-CBT and other CBT methods when compared to wait-list control groups. Additionally, TF-CBT or/and other CBT methods were found to be as effective or more effective at reducing PTSD or PTSS when compared to other treatment methods including; supportive group for parents, standard community care, child-centered therapy, non-directive supportive therapy, and EMDR. Therefore, the findings of this study suggest that TF-CBT or comparable CBT methods are effective and can be utilized with children and adolescents suffering from PTSD/PTSS who have experienced complex trauma.

Included in

Social Work Commons