The Classroom, Community, Culture Based Intervention (CBI®) Model

The International Trauma Center’s primary trauma focused intervention is the Classroom, Community, Culture Based Intervention (CBI®), an evidence-based, psychosocial continuum of care for youth and communities exposed to extreme stressors.

The International Trauma Center works with the United States Agency for International Development, Save The Children Federation, the United Nations-UNICEF, the World Bank, the European Commission of Humanitarian Organizations, FEMA, Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. Federal agencies to design, develop, implement and manage systematic assessment, training and dissemination of trauma informed interventions and service delivery, in most cases utilizing the CBI®.

To date, ITC, with its local community partners, has implemented CBI® and trauma informed care service delivery systems to over 586,575 trauma exposed children and youth in 10 countries and 12 states.

The Model

The CBI® is a 4-week, 12-session classroom- or camp-based group intervention, involving a series of highly structured trauma sensitive expressive-behavioral activities. The aim of these activities is to significantly reduce traumatic stress reactions, anxiety, fear and depressed moods, by allowing and guiding children to do what they do best: playing, learning, and creative problem solving.

The CBI® structural design is derived from both old and new evidence-based research in the Classical Conditioning, Anxiety Disorders, Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) literature. Prior studies indicate that the reduction of acute traumatic stress reactions coupled with the consistent reduction of arousal symptoms may significantly decrease overall the negative effects of extremely difficult or life threatening experiences.

The ultimate goal of the CBI® is to bring about (1) immediate short-term reduction in potentially harmful traumatic stress reactions as well as (2) longer-term preventive effects such as increasing a child’s ability to problem solve, engage in social perspective taking and sustain increased self-esteem and positive self and social concept. The expected (immediate) results include (1) a significant decrease in aggressive behaviors, sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, and intrusive recall of the traumatic events, and (2) an increase in the sense of safety, self-esteem, hope, self-control, and willingness to sustain meaningful peer and adult relationships.

In other words, CBI® was developed to decrease PTSD symptoms and depression symptoms, as well as identifying existing coping resources among children and youth facing difficult circumstances, and to sustain the utilization of those resources in the service of psychological and psychosocial recovery over time.

CBI®, originally designed, developed and disseminated by the International Trauma Center or ITC, (formerly the Center for Trauma Psychology) targeted traumatic stress reduction and psychosocial stabilization for youth in schools and tent cities after the 1999 Turkish earthquakes.

CBI® continues to be developed by ITC, which has provided technical assistance, program development and school and community based psychosocial recovery responses post 9/11/01 for SAMHSA, FEMA, USAID, DHS, NCTSN, NCPTSD and USEPA.

ITC teams have designed, launched and currently manage child and youth trauma response networks, utilizing CBI® as a psychosocial intervention program in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and South Dakota, Iowa, Alaska, Mississippi, and Louisiana.