Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Kids

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of counseling used to treat a number of psychological and behavioral conditions that commonly occur in children including: Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Depression, and Autism.

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Research suggests that typically developing children ages seven and older are reported to benefit most from CBT. CBT can be a very welcomed treatment with benefits for your whole family. The core principle of CBT is the premise that unhealthy thinking patterns can lead to unhealthy behavior patterns. CBT focuses on the cognitive factors that cannot be observed (unhealthy, irrational and obtrusive thoughts), but are known to serve as triggers for the unhelpful, and sometimes harmful, behaviors we experience.

The cognitive behavioral methods backed by research are those that systematically and simultaneously address unhealthy thinking patterns by helping the learner:

  • Understand thoughts are automatic but changeable
  • Recognize distorted (irrational, unrealistic) or catastrophic (worse-case scenario) thoughts
  • Evaluate these thoughts in terms of reality (e.g., how true is…?, how likely is it…?)
  • Reframe thoughts based on this evaluation (e.g., what is more likely?)
  • Problem solve situations based on this evaluation (e.g., If it is likely…, then I can)
  • Increase confidence in the ability to problem solve over time (Last time, I was able to…)

It also address unhealthy behavior patterns using some of the following methods:

  • Cognitive Restructuring: replacing irrational thoughts with more balanced ones
  • Containment: Setting parameters around when and where negative emotions and behaviors will be processed and addressed
  • Graded Exposure: Facing fearful situations in a gradual and therapeutic way over time
  • Successive Approximation: breaking down complex tasks into smaller more attainable steps to build confidence and self-efficacy along the way

Where do I found a counselor?

Check or the South Florida Association of Christian Counselors for local counselors. When you talk with a counselor, specifically ask if he or she offers cognitive behavior therapy.  While we don’t offer it, we do offer dyslexia, learning disability, IQ, anxiety, depression, and ADHD/ADD testing.  Visit or call (561) 625 4125.