Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based therapy which aims to help reduce distress and improve day-to-day functioning.
CBT models can be used to treat children as young as 4 onwards.  The  CBT model aims to teach the child to be aware of, and to then change the way

  • think (cognitive) 
  • feel (emotionally and physically)
  • act/respond  (behaviour) 

The rationale behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation, how we feel, and how we behave are all inter-connected. CBT assists children and adolescents
become more aware of their own thoughts, feelings and actions so that they can view difficult situations more clearly and rationally and respond more effectively.

CBT also encourages a child or adolescent to practice more helpful behaviours in their daily lives. They learn how to gradually face situations they fear rather
than avoid them (in the case of anxiety) or to be more active (in the case of depression).

CBT is an effective treatment model for a range of diffiuclties, including:

  • mild to moderate depression
  • mild to moderate anxiety
  • chronic pain
  • low self-esteem
  • behaviour dysregulation / anger problems
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post traumatic stress

The child or teenager and therapist work closely together to understand and change patterns of thinking and behaving. The goal is to learn tools for managing
situations and feelings that are challenging. Practice beyond the therapy sessions is a key part of CBT. Once children learn new skills, have a chance to
master them, and start to see some positive changes, they often stop therapy. It is not uncommon that children return when challenging situations arise as
they may require only a few “booster sessions” to revisit previously learned skills.

Parents are involved in their child’s therapy either directly in the sessions or in learning about the child’s progress and therapy.  They are often required to coach their child at home to put new skills into practice and to encourage children to step outside their comfort zones and face fears. With teenagers, the amount of
direct parental involvement depends on a number of factors.


Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one.

Glennon Melton