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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Children


What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of mental health therapy. It is used to help your child create more realistic, appropriate thoughts about himself and his behaviors. CBT is short term therapy that may last up to 20 sessions. Your child may work individually with a mental health provider. CBT may also be done with a group of children that have similar disorders. CBT may be combined with medicines that help treat your child's disorder.

What happens during CBT?

Your child's therapist will help him identify unhealthy thought patterns and how they lead to negative actions. Your child will also learn to recognize and change mistaken beliefs. Your child will set goals for the behaviors that he wishes to change. He will be asked to write down his feelings, thoughts, and the result of his actions.

What are the most common disorders treated by CBT?

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Panic disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child becomes more sad or fearful.
  • Your child's behaviors return or continue after treatment.
  • You have questions about your child's condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Your child feels like hurting himself.
  • Your child has done something on purpose to hurt himself.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.