What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidenced-based therapy designed to guide individuals to recognize unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For instance, this therapy addresses present thoughts and future actions.

CBT for kids can help a child understand negative thoughts and learn how to reframe those thoughts positively. First, the child is learning how the negative thought influenced their feelings and behaviors as a response. When the child has that understanding, CBT can help by restructuring negative thoughts. This therapy specifically helps a child learn realistic strategies when encountering negative thoughts.

How can CBT help my child?

CBT can help children learn to control their self-defeating thoughts, impulsivity, defiance, and tantrums. The child can replace their negative reactions by improving their self-image, new coping mechanisms, problem-solving skills, and more self-control. This process happens over time when implementing goals for therapy.

Negative thoughts are automatic negative thoughts that are bully thoughts about ourselves. These statements start with me, for example, “I am stupid.”

How does CBT for children work?

CBT can be completed in short-term or long-term therapy. It depends on the client’s goals and what the client wants to change. The therapist will provide many ways for your child to take control and empower themselves.

CBT techniques:

Play Therapy: arts and crafts, dolls and puppets, and role-playing can be utilized to help the child with storytelling to address problems and work out solutions. Play therapy also helps younger children stay engaged.

Trauma-focused CBT: this method is implemented to treat children who have undergone a traumatic event and work through cognitive and behavioral issues related to that event.

Modeling: the therapist may act out an example of the desired behavior and ask the child to do the same or provide examples.

Reframing/Restructuring: this technique helps the child learn to reframe that negative thought into a positive one. For example, “I stink at soccer. I’m a total loser” can become “I’m not the best soccer player, but I’m good at a lot of other things.”

Exposure Therapy: this would help the child face specific fears by working on increasing coping skills to use when exposed to anxiety-producing situations.

What is fascinating about CBT is that therapists can use this therapy in different ways to cater to each child’s interests, such as worksheets or experiential therapies such as art therapy.

 Conditions that CBT may help with are:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety and Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Trauma and PTSD

 How can Social Work help?

At Eyas Landing, our social workers can use this therapeutic approach by working with your child to understand the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therefore, we can guide your child to understand their behaviors and the consequences of their actions. Social workers can help by having your child learn all the different strategies and skills to help with difficult situations.

Articles for more information: 

CBT for Kids & Teens: How It Works, Examples, & Effectiveness (choosingtherapy.com)

Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.

Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!

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