Therapy for Teens who have symptoms of stress after a trauma

Purpose of the Study
We are studying how brain function improves when symptoms of stress improve.  We are doing this by providing a very effective therapy and collecting MRI scans before and after the treatment  

Who is eligible to participate
Teens (ages 9 to 17) who have experienced interpersonal trauma (such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, witnessing violence, or bullying) and are suffering from symptoms of stress.  Symptoms of stress after trauma include difficulty sleeping, feeling anxious or jittery, inability to concentrate, and having upsetting memories of the traumatic experience.   Teens must speak English, but it is ok if parents speak Spanish.  Teens must not be currently taking psychiatric medications.

Trauma-focused Cognitive Therapy
We provide an evidence-based treatment called Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), which is considered the ‘gold-standard’ treatment for trauma in this age group.  TFCBT offers education and coping skills to help youths and caregivers actively process traumatic experiences.
Each person meets weekly with a therapist for one hour, and then the parent or guardian meets with the therapist for 20 minutes.  There are about 20 weeks of therapy.  Sessions are held at Stanford University.

Interviews and Questionnaires
We interview the teenager and his or her parent or guardian to assess health information and symptoms of stress and other thoughts and feelings. Most of the assessments can be completed from home on the internet.  Some interviews are completed at Stanford with a therapist.

MRI is a safe and non-invasive procedure that gives no radiation, no blood draws, and no injections.  Two scans are required: one before and one after treatment.  Each scan takes about an hour.

Participants can earn $350 for completing all parts of the study.

Funding and Co-Investigators
This study is funded by a K01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to Dr. Amy Garrett.  Co-Investigators include Judith Cohen, M.D., Victor Carrion, M.D., and Sanno Zack, Ph.D.

  • MRI scan, which is safe and does NOT expose you to radiation

Potential benefits of participating:

  • Data from this study will help researchers understand and develop better treatments for teens who have had a trauma
  • Up to $350 monetary gift for participation (depending on how much of the study you complete).

For more information, or to enroll email the study coordinator: or call (650) 736-1874

Download Flyer here (PDF)

For further information regarding questions, concerns, or complaints about research, research related injury, and questions about the rights of research participants, please call (650) 723-5244 or call toll free 1-866-680-2906, or write the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Medical Research, Administrative Panels Office, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5401.