How many Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) therapists should we train?

The number of therapists an agency should train depends on several factors, particularly the need in your community and the extent to which evidence-based trauma services are already available. Data regarding the number of children who have experienced trauma and could benefit from services may not translate directly into open cases. Reasons for this include lack of public awareness, stigma, and practical barriers. Target caseload should also be taken into consideration when deciding how many therapists to train.

While it may not always be feasible, we do encourage agencies to consider training a group of 2 or more therapists and a supervisor, for the reasons noted below:

  • Training multiple therapists helps to ensure TF-CBT continues to be available at your agency, should therapist turnover occur. Data collected by the EPISCenter suggests that approximately 23% of therapists trained in TF-CBT as part of a grant-funded project discontinue their participation before the grant has ended (see data summary).
  • Training a group allows cases to be distributed across therapists. As noted in the question above (recommended caseload), there are benefits to therapists seeing TF-CBT cases as part of their caseload, rather than serving only trauma cases.
  • Therapists within the agency can serve as a source of support to one another. For instance, following certification therapists may wish to continue meeting as a group for peer consultation, to provide support for continuing to implement TF-CBT with fidelity.
  • Particularly if therapists do not continue TF-CBT consultation beyond the initial 12-call series, it is important to have a supervisor who is trained in the model and has practiced TF-CBT him/herself.

Agencies are considered to be thoughtful in their selection of which therapists to train, taking into consideration therapist experience and interest in treating trauma.