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CBT for children and adolescents



What is CBT?

CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is a talking therapy which can work very effectively for children and adolescents to help them overcome conditions such as anxiety, depression, OCD and anger management.

Children with ADHD and ASD can also benefit from CBT as it helps them manage some of their symptoms in a more positive, healthy way.

The aim of CBT is to challenge patterns of behaviour and thought processes that are negative, destructive or distressing and replace them with more positive thought patterns.

CBT for children has grown in popularity in the last few years and has been supported by numerous studies showing it to be highly effective and more effective than many medications alone. CBT teaches lifelong skills and coping strategies so can have longer term benefits for the child or teenager.


What conditions can CBT help children with?

CBT can be useful for many different conditions as it helps form healthy responses to challenging situations and research has shown particular benefits for the following conditions:

If you think CBT might be helpful for your child, you can talk to one of our clinical advisors today about which option might be best for you.
We offer private CBT and therapy sessions nationwide. Please call 0203 761 7026 or use the contact us form to request a call back.


How does CBT work?

CBT works with the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

CBT Relationship

CBT is based on the theory that it is not the event itself which we find upsetting, but the meanings that we associate with the event. It is very common for people to start believing their negative thoughts, even when they are unfounded. These beliefs become so powerful they alter how we behave. As our behaviours reinforce our thoughts, a negative cycle starts (as described above).

CBT works by ‘reprogramming’ some of the negative assumptions that the child or teenager has. The therapy is based on the theory that we associate negative emotions with certain situations and events, but often these are unfounded. A negative cycle is then started, as our thoughts, emotions and behaviours are all interlinked.

For instance, a child may think ‘Everyone thinks I am stupid’ because they were laughed at once and then go on to develop a fear of answering questions in class. As a result, the child may stop putting their hand up in class and become increasingly quiet. They may stay off school more, lose friendships and grow increasingly fearful about going to school at all.

CBT helps the child or teenager gain control of their thoughts, by challenging assumptions, encouraging healthy ‘self-talk’, finding effective coping strategies and, where suitable, facing the feared situation to show that things are in fact OK.


Is CBT right for my child?

With so many therapy options available, it can be hard for parents to know which one is best suited for their child or teenager. CBT can be used effectively with children as young as three; a study showed that following just 8 sessions of a modified CBT course, in which parents were involved, the young children experienced lower levels of anxiety and their home lives were happier and more settled1 .

CBT does require children to be motivated enough to participate in sessions and carry out any ‘homework’ that is set – (often there can be exercises for the child and parents to work on between sessions to embed the learning). Some children can find this really difficult, particularly if they are very depressed or exhausted and sometimes medications are needed to improve things first, before therapy can begin. Your psychiatrist or psychologist can help advise on this.


How can Clinical Partners help me?

We really support the use of talking therapies for children and adolescents and have helped thousands of families find the right therapy solution for them. We have a nationwide team of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists who are able to offer effective, compassionate treatment to you and your family.

You can talk to one of our clinical advisors, who are all qualified therapists or assistant psychologists, about which type of therapy might be best for you. You will then be offered an appointment that is convenient to you. If you don’t feel it is the right type of therapy then you can contact us and we can find an alternative.

To speak to someone today about whether CBT is right for your child or teenager or to arrange an appointment, please call 0203 761 7026 or use the contact us form to request a call back.

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