Game-based cognitive-behavioral therapy individual model (GB-CBT-IM) for child sexual abuse: A preliminary outcome study

Justin Misurell, Craig Springer, Lina Acosta, Lindsay Liotta, Amy Kranzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This preliminary outcome study examined the effectiveness of a game-based cognitive-behavioral therapy individual model (GB-CBT-IM) for children ages 4 to 17 years who have experienced child sexual abuse (CSA). GB-CBT-IM is an integrative approach, bridging evidenced-based structured play therapy with cognitive-behavioral therapy to improve treatment engagement and interest. Furthermore, GB-CBT-IM is a manualized, modular-based approach, which is flexible and allows for the tailoring of interventions based on the needs, interests, and preferences of children and families. The model targets a number of behavioral difficulties and symptoms commonly associated with CSA, including (a) internalizing symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression, affective symptoms), (b) externalizing behavioral problems (e.g., oppositional behavior, anger, and disruptive behavior), (c) trauma-specific symptoms (e.g., posttraumatic stress, avoidance, arousal), and (d) sexually inappropriate behaviors. Additionally, children are provided with psychoeducation to improve their knowledge of abuse and personal safety skills. Results indicated that GB-CBT-IM was effective in improving behavioral problems and difficulties, trauma-specific symptoms, and sexually inappropriate behaviors, and enhancing children's knowledge of abuse and personal safety skills. Clinical significance testing also revealed that the majority of participants exhibited meaningful improvements. Furthermore, additional findings indicated high levels of attendance, satisfaction, and cultural competency. Overall, GB-CBT-IM represents a promising intervention for treating children and families impacted by CSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-258
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • child sexual abuse (CSA)
  • developmentally appropriate games (DAGs)
  • evidence-based practice
  • game-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (GB-CBT)
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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