TGCT-A: Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents
By Jack Komer, 12/2021.
What is TGCT-A?
TGCT-A is a manualized group or individual treatment program for trauma-exposed or traumatically bereaved older children and adolescents that may be implemented in school, community mental health, clinic, or other service settings. It is a modularized, assessment-driven, flexibly tailored treatment manual and accompanying youth workbook that includes detailed instructions for conducting individual or group sessions. Specific treatment modules (and specific sessions within modules) are selected, prioritized, sequenced, and emphasized based on clients’ specific needs, strengths, circumstances, and informed wishes. The intervention contains a variety of components organized into four modules.
Components of TGCT-A (NCTSN, 2018)
Challenges and Problems Addressed by TGCT-A (NCTSN, 2018):
learning to label and cope with distress reactions (e.g., posttraumatic stress
reactions, grief reactions, depressive reactions).
managing trauma reminders (which evoke primarily posttraumatic stress
managing loss reminders (which evoke primarily grief reactions).
addressing the complexity of traumatic experiences, including worst moments.
addressing the interplay between posttraumatic stress and grief reactions that
can arise following traumatic bereavement.
addressing traumatic expectations, which can inhibit positive aspirations and
preparations for the future.
managing secondary adversities.
promoting adaptive developmental progression by improving adolescents’
capacity to work on developmental tasks (e.g., school work, family/peer
relationships) and recover from lost developmental opportunities.
Evidence of TGCT-A Effectiveness (NCTSN, 2018)
Articles with Information Regarding the Implementation of TGCT-A:
Layne, C. M., Pynoos, R. S., & Cardenas, J. (2001). Wounded adolescence: School based group psychotherapy for adolescents who have sustained or witnessed
violent interpersonal injury. In M. Shafii & S. Shafii (Eds.), School violence:
Contributing factors, management, and prevention (pp. 163-186). Washington, DC:
American Psychiatric Press.
Layne, C. M., Saltzman, W. R., Poppleton, L., Burlingame, G. M., Pašalić, A.
Duraković-Belko, E. Ćampara, N., Musić, M., Đapo, N., Arslanagić, B. Steinberg, A.
M., & Pynoos, R. S. (2008). Effectiveness of a School-Based Group Psychotherapy
Program for War-Exposed Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal
of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47, 1048-1062.
Olafson, E., Boat, B. W., Putnam, K. T., Thieken, L., Marrow, M.T., & Putnam, F. W. (2016). Implementing Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents and Think Trauma for traumatized youth in secure juvenile justice settings. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(16) 1-21. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516628287
Saltzman, W. R., Layne, C. M., Steinberg, A. M., Arslanagic, B., & Pynoos, R. S.
(2003). Developing a culturally-ecologically sound intervention program for youth
exposed to war and terrorism. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North
America, 12, 319-342.
Saltzman, W. R., Layne, C. M., Steinberg, A. M., & Pynoos, R. S. (2006). Trauma/
Grief-Focused Group Psychotherapy with Adolescents. In Schein, L. A., Spitz, H. I.,
Burlingame, G. M., & Muskin, P. R., (Eds.), Group Approaches for the Psychological
Effects of Terrorist Disasters. New York: Haworth.
Saltzman, W. R., Layne, C. M., Steinberg, A. M., & Pynoos, R. S. (2003). School-Based Trauma- and Grief- Focused Intervention for Adolescents Exposed to Community Violence. The Prevention Researcher, 10, 8- 11.
Saltzman, W. R., Pynoos, R. S., Layne, C. M., Steinberg, A., & Aisenberg, E. (2001).
A Developmental Approach to Trauma/Grief Focused Group Psychotherapy for Youth
Exposed to Community Violence. Journal of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy,
11(2/3), pp. 43-56
Goenjian, A.K., Walling D., Steinberg, A.M., Karayan I., Najarian, L.M., & Pynoos. R: (2005). A prospective study of posttraumatic stress and depressive reactions among treated and untreated adolescents 5 years after a catastrophic disaster. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 2302-2308
Goenjian, A., Karayan, I., Pynoos R, Minassian, D., Najarian, M., Steinberg, A.M, & Fairbanks, L.A. (1997). Outcome of psychotherapy among early adolescents after trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 536-542.
Grassetti, S. N., Williamson, A. A., Herres, J., Kobak, R., Layne, C. M., Kaplow, J. B., & Pynoos, R. S.
(2018). Evaluating referral, screening, and assessment procedures for middle school trauma/grief-focused treatment groups. School Psychology Quarterly, 33(1), 10-20. http://
Grassetti, S. N., Herres, J., Williamson, A., Yarger, H. A., Layne, C. M., & Kobak, R. (2014). Narrative focus moderates symptom change trajectories in group treatment for traumatized and bereaved adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44 (6), 933-941. DOI:10.1080/15374416.2014.913249.
Herres, J., Williamson, A.A., Kobak, R., Layne, C. M., Kaplow, J. B., Saltzman, W. R., & Pynoos, R. S. (2017). Internalizing and externalizing symptoms moderate treatment response to school-based trauma and grief component therapy for adolescents. School Mental Health, 9, 184-193. doi.org/10.1007/s12310-016- 9204-1.
Layne, C. M., Pynoos, R. S., Saltzman, W. R., Arslanagic, B., et al. (2001). Trauma/Grief-Focused Group v Psychotherapy: School-based post-war intervention with traumatized Bosnian adolescents. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 5, 277-290
Olafson, E., Boat, B. W., Putnam, K. T., Thieken, L., Marrow, M.T. & Putnam, F. W. (2016).
Implementing Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents and Think Trauma for Traumatized Youth in secure juvenile justice settings. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(16) 1-21. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516628287
Saltzman, W. R., Pynoos, R. S., Layne, C. M., Steinberg, A., & Aisenberg, E. (2001). Trauma/GriefFocused Intervention for Adolescents Exposed to Community Violence: Results of a School-Based Screening and Group Treatment Protocol. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 5, 291-303.
NCSTN. (2018). TGCT-A: Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents [Fact sheet]. https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/interventions/tgcta_fact_sheet.pdf