Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help a child or young person understand how their thoughts, feelings, and what they do are connected. By doing CBT they can learn how to manage upsetting thoughts and unhelpful behaviours, which in turn helps them to feel better.
Sometimes it is obvious what has started a problem off, other times it is not. In either case there will be things which are keeping the problem going. The child or young person and their CBT therapist will try and understand how the difficulties they are having started. However, most of the work is likely to be about changing the things which keep the difficulty, or the bad feelings, going.
Together with their CBT therapist, the child or young person will come up with some things to do between sessions. In their next session we will discuss what happened when they tried things out and discover what works best for them. This way they will learn how to cope when things get difficult.
Often, they will work alone with their therapist, though sometimes their parents/carers might join in too if everyone thinks this will be helpful. There are also CBT groups where you can all learn from each other’s experiences.
CBT is a therapy which has been well researched over the years and most people who actively try things out see a lot of benefit from this way of working.
All CAMHS clinicians are registered with their professional organisation. Many of them are trained to use some aspects of CBT in their work with children and young people. Some CAMHS clinicians have further training in CBT and are accredited CBT therapists. The service contributes to the training of professionals and children and young people may work with a trainee who will be closely supervised by a senior clinician.
How long does therapy last?
CBT sessions are usually up to an hour long and are either weekly or fortnightly. Sometimes 6-12 sessions are enough, some people need more, some don’t need this many. The child or young person and their therapist will regularly review their progress and decide together how long the therapy should go on for.