Our TF-CBT Journey

by | Oct 13, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

In 2015, whilst working in the public health service, we (Natalie and Gavin) completed our training in TF-CBT with Dr Laura Murray. When we got trained in TF-CBT it felt like a transformative moment. Here was a therapy with a strong evidence base that seemed like it could make a difference in the lives of the young people and families we worked with who had experienced trauma. Little did we know how transformative it would be.

During the training we spoke with each other about how it could possibly work for the young people we worked with in an acute adolescent mental health unit. We weren’t sure that it would, it was a big change from the stabilisation focus of acute inpatient units when working with young people experiencing symptoms of trauma. Though in discussion with Dr Murray we felt that given young people were typically with us for some time and were in a contained setting that if we held three sessions a week and were able to meet with parents/carers, we may be able to get through a complete treatment. So, this is what we did and we haven’t looked back.

Fast forward a few years of using TF-CBT with young people and their parents/carers and our passion for TF-CBT grew based on the benefit we could see in the young people and families who allowed us to walk with them on this journey. In 2018 Natalie flew to the United States, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to meet the developers Drs Anthony Mannarino and Judith Cohen. A strong mentoring relationship was established, and we just knew that Australia needed TF-CBT.

In 2019 we published a paper https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32370553/ which demonstrated that TF-CBT could be adapted to three sessions a week in an acute adolescent mental health unit. Results indicated that for young people who completed TF-CBT, PTSD symptoms reduced and global functioning improved.

In 2020 we were both fortunate enough to participate in the International TF-CBT Train the Trainers program. We were over the moon about this! This involved regular consultations with developers Dr Anthony Mannarino, Dr Judith Cohen, and Dr Esther Deblinger and other incredible clinicians from around the world. The time difference between Pittsburgh and Sydney meant many late nights, though we didn’t mind. In February 2021 we completed this training and were certified as TF-CBT Trainers in Australia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrUgwpXrEoY&t=4s

Now, we have started Psychology Training and Supervision https://psychologytrainingandsupervision.com.au/ to allow us to provide training and supervision in TF-CBT (and other evidence based interventions in the future) to mental health clinicians throughout Australia. It’s been a journey. If you’d like to join us for training, follow the link https://psychologytrainingandsupervision.com.au/events/