National Child Traumatic Stress Network Empirically Supported Treatments and Promising Practices

The fact sheets linked from this page describe some of the clinical treatment and trauma-informed service approaches implemented by National Child Traumatic Stress Network centers, with the common goal of reducing the impact of exposure to traumatic events on children and adolescents.

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Page Contents:

How the Fact Sheets Were Developed

These fact sheets were developed as part of the NCTSN Trauma-Informed Interventions: Clinical and Research Evidence and Culture-Specific Information Project, a joint venture undertaken by the NCTSN and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. This project aims to evaluate the extent to which clinical and research evidence exists to support the use of trauma-informed treatment interventions with diverse cultural groups (as defined by such factors as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, spirituality, disability, and geography).

These documents were produced in close consultation with the developer of each treatment or service approach, and they replace a similar set of fact sheets developed by the NCTSN in 2005. The new materials below include more up-to-date information, and the previous emphasis on published research findings is balanced by more detailed information pertaining to culturally-relevant features of each intervention. In cases in which the fact sheets were not updated for NCTSN Trauma-Informed Interventions: Clinical and Research Evidence and Culture-Specific Information Project, we continue to list the original fact sheets below.


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How to Use the Fact Sheets

The approaches described in the fact sheets are interventions being implemented by centers within the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Please note that these interventions do not represent all relevant practices available for treating child traumatic stress. Where appropriate, sites searching for an intervention that is most relevant for their population(s) should consider additional interventions beyond those summarized here.

In recognition of the diverse needs of the child and adolescent populations served by NCTSN sites across the country, the interventions and treatments listed below span a continuum of evidence-based interventions, ranging from rigorously evaluated interventions to promising practices and newly emerging practices. Readers should review and consider these practices based not only on their levels of evidence but also on their appropriateness for a given community and target population, training requirements, feasibility of adoption and implementation, and potential for sustainability. Readers are encouraged to gather additional information on adoption readiness through discussions with the treatment developers and other sites that are implementing the practices.

The needs, values, and preferences of a provider's service population should also influence the type of intervention needed. Factors to consider include:

  • Prevalence of types of trauma and traumatic bereavement to which the population(s) is exposed
  • Associated types and rates of mental distress and associated behavioral and functional impairment
  • Cultural background(s) of the clientele and the surrounding community
  • Developmental factors, including age, cognitive, and social domains
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Logistical and other barriers to help-seeking
  • Availability of individual/family/community strength-based resources
  • Setting in which services are offered (school, residential, clinic, home)


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Core Components of Interventions

Many existing trauma-focused interventions overlap in their content and approaches. These areas of overlap are termed "core components." Providers are encouraged to consider (1) whether and how specific interventions include desired intervention components, (2) how, if included, these components are carried out (e.g., specific skills-acquisition activities, homework, role-play, games), and (3) how well these components "fit" with the specific needs and preferences of the population the agency serves. For example, does the intervention emphasize acquiring the appropriate coping skills? If so, are the activities in which skills are acquired appropriate for the developmental level, cultural background, and geography of the population served? Interventions that do not include needed core components may be inappropriate for the population, or may at least require substantial adaptation in order to be considered appropriate. Examples of core components might include:

  • Screening and triage
  • Systematic assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment planning
  • Psycho-education
  • Addressing children and families' traumatic stress reactions and experiences
  • Trauma narration and organization
  • Enhancing emotional regulation and anxiety management skills
  • Facilitating adaptive coping and maintaining adaptive routines
  • Parenting skills and behavior management
  • Promoting adaptive developmental progression
  • Addressing grief and loss
  • Promoting safety skills
  • Relapse prevention
  • Evaluation of treatment response and effectiveness
  • Engagement/addressing barriers to service-seeking


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Intervention Descriptions

Click on each intervention to download a detailed fact sheet that provides a description of the intervention as well as where to obtain additional information. Interventions are listed in alphabetical order.


Name of InterventionTargeted PopulationsModalityCulture-Specific Fact Sheet
Adapted Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Special Populations (DBT-SP) (2012) (PDF)
8-21; both males and females; for youth experiencing a wide range of traumas
Alternatives for Families - A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) (2012) (PDF)  School-age children; for youth experiencing a wide range of traumasindividual, family Yes
Assessment-Based Treatment for Traumatized Children: Trauma Assessment Pathway (TAP) (2012) (PDF)
0-18; both males and females; for children who have experienced a wide range of traumasindividual, family, systemsYes
Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) (2012) (PDF)
Birth – 24 months; both males and females; for low-income families who have experienced neglect, abuse, domestic violence, placement instabilityindividual, familyNo
Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competence (ARC): A Comprehensive Framework for Intervention with Complexly Traumatized Youth (2012) (PDF)
2-21; both males and females; for children, caregivers, and systems that have experienced a wide range of traumas
individual, family, systemsYes
Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) (2008) (PDF)
Children of all ages and their caregivers; both males and femalesfamily, systems Yes
Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) (2012) (PDF) 7-18; both males and females; for parents and children who may have complex trauma historiesindividual, family, systems No
Child Development-Community Policing Program (2007) (PDF)0-18+; both males and females; for children and families in the aftermath of crime and violence.individual, family, systemsNo
Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) (2012) (PDF)
0-6; both males and females; for youth who have experienced a wide range of traumas and  parents with chronic traumaindividual, family, systems Yes
Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) (2012) (PDF)
10-15; both males and females; for children who have experienced a wide range of traumas
individual, family, systems Yes
Combined Parent Child Cognitive-Behavioral Approach for Children and Families At-Risk for Child Physical Abuse (CPC-CBT) (2009) (PDF)4-17; both male and female; for families with a history of physical abuse and inappropriate physical discipline/coercive parenting strategies
individual, group, family Yes
Combined TF-CBT and SSRI Treatment (2007) (PDF)
10-18; females
individual, family No
COPE - Community Outreach Program - Esperanza (2007) (PDF)4-18; both males and females; for traumatized children who are presenting with behavior or social-emotional problems
individual, familyNo
Culturally Modified Trauma-Focused Treatment (CM-TFT)(2008) (PDF)4-18; both males and females; Latino/Hispanic; for youth who have experienced a wide range of traumasindividual, family  Yes
Family Advocate Program (2005) (PDF)18-70; both males and females; for youth who present with anxiety, depression, PTSD symptoms, and/or
traumatic loss
Forensically-Sensitive Therapy (2005) (PDF)4-17; predominantly female; for youth presenting problems ranging from anxiety and depression to risk-taking behaviors and functional impairment. Program is designed for a mental health clinic.individual, familyNo
Group Treatment for Children Affected by Domestic Violence (2007) (PDF)
5-no upper limit; both males and females; for children and their nonoffending parents who have been exposed to DV group, family, systemsNo
Honoring Children, Making Relatives (2007) (PDF)
3-7; both males and females; for American Indian and Alaska Native childrenindividual, familyNo
Honoring Children, Mending the Circle (2007) (PDF)
3-18; both males and females; for American Indian and Alaska Native children
Honoring Children, Respectful Ways (2007) (PDF)
3-12; both males and females; for American Indian and Alaska Native children individualNo
Integrative Treatment of Complex Trauma (ITCT-C, ITCT-A) (2008) (PDF)
2-21; both males and females; for Hispanic-American, African-American, Caucasian, Asian-American; for youth who may have complex trauma histories
individual, family, systemsYes
International Family Adult and Child Enhancement Services (IFACES) (2012) (PDF)
6-12; both males and females; for refugee and immigrant children who have experienced trauma as a result of war or displacement
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) (2008) (PDF)
2-12; both males and femalesindividual, family, systems Yes
Psychological First Aid (PFA) (2012) (PDF)
0-120; both males and females; for individuals immediately following disasters, terrorism, and other emergencies individual
Real Life Heroes (RLH) (2012) (PDF) 6-12, plus adolescents (13-19) with delays in social, emotional or cognitive functioning; both males and females; for children who have experienced a wide range of traumasindividual, family, systems Yes
Safe Harbor Program (2007) (PDF) 6-21; both males and females; provided in schools for children and adolescents exposed to trauma and violence who may present with a range of problems and symptomsindividual, group, family, systems No
Safety, Mentoring, Advocacy, Recovery, and Treatment (SMART) (2012) (PDF) 3-11; both males and females; to date the model has been effectively used with primarily African-American children; majority of families are low income
individual, family, systems No
Sanctuary Model (2008) (PDF) 4-no upper limit; both males and females; evidence-supported template for system change based on the active creation and maintenance of a nonviolent, democratic, productive community to help people heal from trauma
Sanctuary Model Plus (IRIS Project)(2005) (PDF) Children and adolescents placed in residential treatment centers and their families group, systems No
Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR)(2012) (PDF) 5-120; both males and femalesindividual, familyYes
Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation/Narrative Story-Telling (STAIR/NST) (2005) (PDF)
12-21; for females who have experienced sexual/physical abuse and a range of additional traumas, including community violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault
individuals, group No
Southeast Asian Teen Village (2005) (PDF)
adolescents; females, Southeast Asian (mostly Hmong)group No
Streetwork Project (2007) (PDF)
13-23; both males and females; harm reduction program good with a wide variety of ethnic/racial groups, religious group, and the LGBTQ community
individuals, group, system
Strengthening Family Coping Resources (SFCR) (2008) (PDF)
0-no upper limit; both males and females; for families experiencing economic hardship family No
Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS)(2012) (PDF)
12-21; both males and females; for adolescents with Complex Trauma, e.g. adolescents exposed to chronic interpersonal trauma (such as ongoing physical abuse) and/or separate types of trauma (e.g. community violence, sexual assault).
group  Yes
Trauma Adapted Family Connections (TA-FC) (2012) (PDF)
0-18; both males and females; who reside in the household; families experiencing complex development trauma, at risk of neglect
individual, family, groupNo
Trauma Affect Regulation: Guidelines for Education and Therapy (TARGET) (2012) (PDF)
10-18+; both males and females; for children and caregivers experiencing traumatic stress; very frequently with single parents or with families whose children have limited contact with biological parents (e.g., foster kids, residential placements), and diversity of religious affiliationsindividual, group, family, systems Yes
Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents (TGCT-A) (2015) (PDF)
12-20; both males and females; for trauma-exposed or traumatically bereaved older children and adolescentsindividual, group, family, systems Yes
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) (2012) (PDF)
3-21; both males and females; for children with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other problems related to traumatic life experiences, and their parents or primary caregiversindividual, family Yes
Trauma-Focused Coping in Schools (TFC) (AKA: Multimodality Trauma Treatment Trauma-Focused Coping-MMTT) (2012) (PDF)6-18; both males and females; for children exposed to single incident trauma and targets posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and collateral symptoms of depression, anxiety, anger, and external locus of controlindividual, group Yes
Trauma-Informed Organizational Self-Assessment (2008) (PDF) 6-19; both males and females; for children who have experienced a wide range of traumasindividual, family, systems Yes
Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) (2008) (PDF) 6-19; both males and females; for youth who have experienced a wide range of traumas systemsYes


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