Applying a combination of cognitive approaches to help children and parents manage thoughts and feelings

CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an approach to therapy that comes from psychologists such as Beck and Ellis. CBT is a psychotherapy that has been shown to be effective in thousands of research studies both here and across the world. It is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy that helps individuals identify goals that are most important to them and overcome obstacles that get in the way.

Our CBT therapist has trained by approved techniques with the BPS, The British Psychological Society ensuring safety and confidence to work with this approach and children and young people. Our team hold up to date DBS providing safety and security for working with children and young people.

The areas we work with include:

  • Child separation anxiety
  • Working with parents and teachers
  • How to apply the therapy to young people itself and its effectiveness and use with parents
  • The impact of trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Behaviour difficulties
  • School refusal
  • The treatment of phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Selective mutism
  • Treating tics and tourette's syndrome
  • Behavioural activation for depression
  • Panic disorder

Why choose CBT?

NICE- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and other international equivalents consider it is the best evidence based treatment for common mental health problems. As such this is often the therapy of choice for children and young people. It has to be said this is not always the case in an approach alone depending on the needs of the child. We would assess this and agree on a pathway and treatment plan that may incorporate CBT and other therapeutic approaches.

What we like about CBT and its use is that its key concepts can be picked up fairly quickly and along with parents can be applied and practiced between session with the therapist.

The initial set up can therefore bring improvement of emotional health fairly quickly, allowing the child to build on their learning.

Anxiety Disorders 

These are an emotional problem where the young person experiences impairment in their day to day living as a result of feelings of anxiety. In CBT we think about these are arising from unhelpful relationships between thoughts, feelings and the behaviours.

We aim to map these unhelpful patterns and change them, often with the support of the family, teachers and careers.

Many of the problems we work with at the clinic are not isolated and none of the issues mentioned above are mutually exclusive and often co-occur.

When do mental health problems start for children and young people?

Half of all mental illnesses begin the age of 14. We know that 1 in 7 children aged between 2-8 yrs has a mental, behavioural or developmental disorder.

We need to consider the contexts that families and children face in all of this such as the world around the child and a number of factors that we aim to understand during the assessment of the child early on. These include:

  • The development stages of the child
  • Neuro-developmental challenges
  • The culture and ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • The social affiliation

What are the components of CBT? 

During the work together the therapist, along with the parents work on assignments or missions. We ask the parents to take an active involvement with these to allow for the child to progress and make the changes agreed. The child can not always do these alone so we involve parents in the setting of these. We have evaluations of the treatments effectiveness and where needed we will have booster sessions or relapse prevention strategies.

We may start the assessments by asking the child to create a problem list. This helps with engagement and gives a real focus for treatment. This is the first step often in our case formulation.

Next we move to setting goals and actions both child and parent can achieve, sometimes we may involve teachers too. We rate these goals in terms of importance for recovery.


How might a typical session be carried out? 

following the assessment with the parents, careers, School and child has been completed and we are all in agreement on the issues we want to address typically a session would contain:

  • Mood check-in including any risk assessments
  • Agenda setting for the session (collaboratively)
  • Assignment or homework or mission review
  • Interventions
  • Session review
  • Setting of new assignments or missions
  • Check-out and protective and safety factors available

Typically sessions last anything up to 45 minutes for children and young people.

Early assessment is the key to success

When we meet for the assessment with parents, I help them to understand how the developing brain works.  This can include:

  • how the brain works, wires, develops, and maps to control everything we think, feel, say, and do
  • how alcohol or other drugs, trauma, toxic stress, genetics, and environment can negatively change or influence that wiring, development, and mapping
  • how addiction, aka substance use disorders, is a developmental brain disease that starts with substance misuse changing brain structure and functioning, making the brain more vulnerable to the five key risk factors for developing the disease [these risk factors include childhood trauma (adverse childhood experiences, aka ACEs), social environment, mental illness, early use, and genetics]
  • how childhood trauma (adverse childhood experiences, aka ACEs) can cause toxic stress and how toxic stress can actually change a child’s brain architecture, negatively affecting their lifetime physical and emotional health
  • how a person must heal their trauma (ACEs) in order to heal their brain and thereby improve their lives
  • that the brain is plastic, meaning it can rewire, it can heal from the impacts of substance use disorders and trauma-related toxic stress.
  • how working with the parents can increase the effectiveness of the issues the child is facing
brain cbt

How do I make an appoinment for my child?

If you feel you or your child would benefit from CBT and you wish to make an appointment you will be asked to complete a pre-appointment assessment form prior to attending. As soon as we have reviewed this an appointment slot will be allocated to you. You will meet the therapist and agree on an approach together. Usually we ask that parents spend some time with the child at each session. This is usually at the start or the end of the session.



Why not sign up today?

Follow the contact us button to find out more.