Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy which is short term and has been shown to be effective in helping both adults and children overcome a number of difficulties (including depression and anxiety). CBT is not a single therapy. Instead it’s modern form developed from behaviour therapy, as it was known in the 1950’s and 1960’s and cognitive therapy since the 1970’s. There have been many articles and books written on CBT for a number of clinical presentations.

CBT basis itself on the understanding that our emotional difficulties and behaviours are as a result of our ‘cognitions’ (i.e. our thoughts, beliefs, interpretations) about the situation. Hence, it is not the situation itself which results in difficult feelings and behaviours; it is dependent on the way we interpret the situation. This becomes clearer to us if we think about how the same situation can affect us in very different ways. For example, a person who finds thunderstorms soothing, will be able to sleep through the storm. However, another individual who is terrified of storms will lay awake worrying about them. This is because they see thunderstoms differently, hence they react very differently. CBT is the recommended first line treatment for a number of conditions, as outlined by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence.

National Institute of Clinical Excellence Guidelines (NICE) for Children and Adolescents
This is an independent organisation which is responsible for providing national guidelines on treatments for a number of presentations. There aren’t NICE guidelines for all of the child and adolescent difficulties. However, below is a few of the most common presentations.

Although NICE guidelines have not be developed for all child and adolescent difficulties, you can find information on empirically supported treatments options from the AmericanAssociation for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies.

Dr. Waddington, Dr Ferguson and Dr Gehl use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) with children and adolescents who are struggling with a number of difficulties including adjustment problems, anxiety, depression and behavioural difficulties. CBT is goal driven and short term so that there are usually between 12-20 sessions. It is often recommended that once the main bulk of therapy has terminated, one or two follow up sessions are scheduled to ensure gains are maintained. CBT is empirically based and is the recommended intervention by the NICE guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) for treating anxiety and depression in children.