Counselor and Client Perspectives of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children in Zambia: A Qualitative Study

Laura K. Murray, Stephanie Skavenski, Lynn M. Michalopoulos, Paul A. Bolton, Judith K. Bass, Itziar Familiar, Mwiya Imasiku, Judith Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This study examined Zambian counselors, children, and caregivers’ perceptions of an evidence-based treatment (EBT) for trauma (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [TF-CBT]) utilized in Zambia to address mental health problems in children. Semistructured interviews were conducted with local counselors trained in TF-CBT (N = 19; 90% of those trained; 12 female) and children/caregivers who had received TF-CBT in a small feasibility study (N = 18; 86% of the children and N = 16; 76% of the caregivers) who completed TF-CBT (total completed; N = 21). Each client was asked six open-ended questions, and domain analysis was used to explore the data. Counselors were positive about the program, liked the structure and flexibility, reported positive changes in their clients, and discussed the cultural adaptation around activities and language. Counselors stated the training was too short, and the supervision was necessary. Challenges included client engagement and attendance, availability of location, funding, and a lack of community understanding of “therapy.” Children and caregivers stated multiple positive changes they attributed to TF-CBT, such as better family communication, reduction of problem behaviors, and ability to speak about the trauma. They recommended continuing the program. This study brings a critical examination of providers’ and clients’ perspectives of the implementation of an EBT for children in a low-resource setting. Clinical implications include changing implementation methods based on responses. Research implications include future study directions such as an effectiveness trial of TF-CBT and an examination of implementation factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-914
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 19 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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