Your child's thoughts, and how he reacts to things, affect how he feels about himself and the things in his life. Negative thoughts can lead to depression, anxiety, or behaviors that cause problems with relationships, school, or work. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps change how your child thinks and reacts. CBT helps your child:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is different from other kinds of therapy in several ways. It is:
CBT can help with:
The therapist will ask what problem you and your child would like to work on during therapy. For example, does your child want to stop being picked on by their peers? Get along better with family members? Feel better about himself?
Once the therapist knows your child’s goals, therapy will focus on how your child thinks and what he does.
In CBT, your child becomes aware of thoughts that are false or hurtful. These thoughts are called "distorted thinking" because they are not based on what is really true. Your child may have learned to think this way from things that happened when he was very young or from recent experiences. The thoughts pop into your child’s mind automatically.
In therapy, your child learns to be aware of these distorted thoughts. Your child learns to replace them with healthy and true thoughts. For example, your child may think "Everybody hates me." Your child feels sad when he thinks this, which make him feel bad about himself. During CBT, your child learns to change or argue with this thought. He might think to himself, "Well, I have at least 4 friends, so some people like me." After thinking this new thought, your child might feel hopeful and feel better about himself.
Your child may also learn to:
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers provide CBT. CBT is used in individual, family, and group therapy settings.
Ask questions and get referrals from people you know and trust. You could check with: