CBT Therapy North West

Child and Adolescent Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

One of the growing areas in CBT is in stress related problems in children and adolescents.

The areas which children and young people most often come for help are:

  • Anxiety and Depression (Stress)
  • Poor Self-Esteem
  • Anger Management
  • Bullying
  • Behavioural Problems
  • School Performance Anxiety

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is recommended for use with children and adolescents who are struggling with a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties. CBT is short term and goal driven. The number of sessions required varies depending upon the nature of the difficulties; usually the therapy lasts for between 8 and 12 sessions. It is often recommended that once the main bulk of therapy has come to an end, one or two follow up sessions are arranged to help maintain the gains. CBT is the recommended intervention by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for treating anxiety and depression in children.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapists working with children and young people use their expertise with children to adapt the CBT appropriately and use their creativity skills to help engage the child/young person in the therapy.

Particular adaptations that therapists make in working with children are to do with pacing the content and speed of therapy at a level appropriate for the child, bearing in mind the younger child's limitations in metacognition and their ability to identify and describe feelings. With younger children, the therapist is likely to be more active and will make use of a higher proportion of behavioural to cognitive techniques.

What is likely to happen during a course of cognitive behavioural therapy?

To begin with your Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist will go through the history of the child/young person's difficulty and how it is making them feel. Working in partnership with the child/young person and parent/s the therapist will help you to identify the areas of difficulty that the child/young person would like to work on and will agree some therapy goals in partnership with you.

Your therapist helps you to recognise unhelpful thoughts and patterns of thinking and behaving which may be making the difficulties worse. Most people are unaware that unhelpful thoughts may be causing difficult emotions, however just because we think or believe something, does not always mean it is true.

In between sessions, homework tasks will be agreed between the therapist and the child/young person. These are sometimes in the form of a diary, to collect information about thoughts, feelings and behaviours in certain situations. At other times the task will focus on making changes in thinking and behaving. Most of the skills learnt in therapy are transferable to many situations so that they help to build general all round confidence in day to day life, as well as the management of a particular problem.

Parents can help by sharing information about some difficult situations and encourage their child to practise new skills and tasks at home. A parent will attend at least the first session with their child and it is likely that the parent will be included in some of the session time, with the aim of helping the transfer of skills from the therapy session to the home or social environment.

Contact us if you would like to find out more about the Child and Adolescent Cognitive Behavioural Therapy services that we offer