Skip Navigation
Skip Main Content

leading-Edge Therapies for PTSD in Pittsburgh

The Center for Trauma

The Center for Trauma is a group of clinicians who are skilled in providing therapy for patients who have been impacted by trauma. It is our mission to provide the best services possible for these patients. We do this by supporting our clinicians who treat trauma through trauma-specific supervision, resources, and access to training on evidence-based treatment models. 

We offer individual and family therapy to clients who have been impacted by traumatic events.   We have a variety of clinicians trained in trauma informed approaches such as Prolonged Exposure Therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), Cognitive Processing Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Art Therapy and Play Therapy.  We offer in person and virtual sessions.


Illustration of a woman at peace

Trauma Therapy Approach Menu

For Adults:

1.  Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

CPT is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps patients learn how to challenge and change unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma. CPT is generally delivered over 12 or more sessions and guides patients in learning how to challenge and modify unhelpful beliefs or “stuck points” related to the trauma. In doing so, the patient creates a new understanding of the traumatic event so that it reduces its ongoing negative effects on current life.

2. Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Trauma

Prolonged exposure is a specific type of CBT  that teaches individuals to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations in order to desensitize the current impact of the memories. It is based on the theory that by facing what has been avoided, a person can learn that the trauma-related memories and cues are not dangerous and do not need to be avoided.  It is typically provided over a period of about three months with weekly individual sessions. 

For more info, please visit this link to the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid from the National Center for PTSD and US Department of Veterans Affairs:

PTSD Treatment Decision Aid - PTSD: National Center for PTSD (
This website compares and contrasts these treatment modalities and provides information on what research says about each of them.  The Treatment Overview Section also provides helpful videos further illustrating what each of these approaches entail.

For Children & Adolescents:

1. Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT): 

TF-CBT is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. It is a components-based treatment model that incorporates trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles and techniques. TF-CBT has proved successful with children and adolescents (ages 3 to 18) who have significant emotional problems (e.g., symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, fear, anxiety, or depression) related to traumatic life events. It can be used with children and adolescents who have experienced a single trauma or multiple traumas in their lives. A PTSD diagnosis is not required in order to receive this treatment. TF-CBT also effectively addresses many other symptoms, including depressive, anxiety, cognitive and behavioral problems, as well as improves the participating parent’s or caregiver’s personal distress about the child’s traumatic experience, effective parenting skills, and supportive interactions with the child.

2. Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT): 

PCIT is an evidenced-based treatment model with highly specified, step-by-step, live coached sessions with both the parent/caregiver and the child.   In this style of therapy, the parent/caregiver is coached in specific skills as he or she interacts in play with the child. Generally, the therapist provides the coaching from behind a one-way mirror. The emphasis is on changing negative parent/caregiver child patterns.

For All Ages:

1. Family Therapy

Traumatic events and symptoms of unprocessed trauma can have a major impact on the individual as well as the family system as a whole. In family therapy, we strive to understand the patterns which have contributed to the traumatic response, relational distress, assist with conflict-resolution, and identify areas of strength and resilience. This approach is a relational form of therapy, where the main focus is on how members interact with one another and does not focus on blaming an individual or traumatic event as the “problem.” Therapists will focus on a process to allow for deeper connections and understanding of one another. Along with processing the trauma, often a focus on boundaries, hierarchy, family roles, and rules will be included in treatment to help family members shift dynamics and allow for more peace in family life. At the end of treatment, we hope families are able to walk away feeling more attached and secure in their relationships, confident and knowledgeable when handling conflict/crisis in the future, and feel more hopeful and positive about their family and relationships. Please see our Cognitive Behavioral Institute Center for Marriage and Family for more information:

2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

A structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory as well as the emotions, body sensations and negative cognitions about themselves and the world around them associated with it,  while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (eye movements, audio tones or tactile stimulation), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories. EMDR sessions can last anywhere from 6 weeks to many more sessions, depending on the needs of the particular patient.  It differs from other trauma-focused treatments in that it doesn’t require extended exposure to the distressing memory, detailed descriptions of the trauma, challenging of beliefs, or homework assignments. 

Meet CBI's Trauma Team

Krista Elston headshot

Krista Elston, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Krista Elston LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in treating children, adolescents, and young adults who have experienced trauma. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Penn State University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She is nationally certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has over 14 years of experience in providing this treatment at the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital. Krista specializes in the assessment and treatment of trauma including sexual and physical abuse, witnessing domestic or community violence, traumatic grief, and car accidents. Using evidence-based treatment, Krista is able to provide clients with a safe space to discuss their experiences and learn coping skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Jennifer Snow headshot

Jennifer Snow, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Jennifer specializes in working with patient with a history of trauma, and is a certified EMDR therapist through EMDRIA. She has training and background in utilizing CBT and DBT strategies to treat a wide spectrum of disorders. Some of these disorders include Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Personality Disorders, Substance Abuse Disorders and Adjustment Disorders. Jennifer obtained has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Family Studies from Messiah College, a Masters of Science Degree in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University, and is a Licensed Practicing Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania.

Megan Cook headshot

Megan Cook, MA, ATR-BC, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Art Therapist

Megan Cook is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Art Therapist. She received her Master’s Degree in Art Therapy with a Specialization in Counseling from Seton Hill University. For the past five and a half years, she has treated clients of all ages who have experienced or witnessed violence, crime, and interpersonal trauma. Megan uses a number of modalities to support her clients through the therapy process. She is a certified Level 1 EMDR Therapist, and is trained in Parent Child Interaction Therapy and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She utilizes Art Therapy to enhance communication to self and others, process trauma and grief, and move towards growth and wellness. Megan believes the therapeutic relationship is the catalyst for change and healing. She specializes in working with children and their parents to repair the relational wounds created by trauma.

Tori Novosel headshot

Tori Novosel

Professional Counselor

Tori Novosel earned her Masters in Counseling from Duquesne University in 2021 with a focus in marriage, couple, and family counseling. She has experience working with adolescents, adults, couples, families, and individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, and eating disorders. Tori is committed to forming strong, trusting relationships with clients, believing that the therapeutic alliance is at the heart of treatment. She uses a person-centered, humanistic approach in addition to evidence-based practices to foster client growth, help them accomplish their goals, and create meaning in their relationships and lives.