How’d you like to get a cup of coffee with you so you can ask me anything?
Well, I can’t be assured you like coffee, or that you’d want to sit in a coffee shop with me.
If you’re like me, you may feel overwhelmed when thinking about counseling for your child.
Read my answers to 7 frequently asked questions about cognitive behavioral therapy for children.
7 Questions About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Children
What is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)?
Here’s the easiest way to think about cognitive behavior therapy.
It’s about examining our thoughts, our feelings, and our behavior.
Therapy gives kids (and adults) a chance take to become more self-aware.
As you and I change our thoughts and actions, we achieve better life results!
Watch the video as cognitive behavioral counselor Jennifer Shannon explains CBT using The Dog Story.
The Dog Story will help you and your child understand that changing our thinking and changing our behavior can be very effective in managing anxiety, depression, anger, and other emotional challenges.
According to Effective Child Therapy, treatment literature supports this type of therapy as “proven to be effective in treating many psychological (conditions) among children and adolescents”.
What conditions are most commonly treated with cognitive behavior therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help children who are struggling with anger issues.
How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?
I always approach the first session as ‘getting to know you.’
If you and your child don’t feel comfortable talking to me and getting to know me, you most likely won’t want to come back.
I use Your World technique to get an idea of how well the child is doing in different areas of his world: friends, school, family, and self.
We draw a picture of the world, and we divide the world up into those different areas. Then I ask the child to rate how well things are going in each area on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest, and 10 being the highest/best.
I explain that we will work on changing our thinking and our behavior to help us get whatever number the child chose (say, 5) a bit higher in the coming weeks.
Effective Child Therapy outlines approaches that I use:
The therapist and child or adolescent develop goals for therapy together, often in close collaboration with parents, and track progress toward goals throughout the course of treatment.
The therapist and client work together with a mutual understanding that the therapist has the theoretical and technical expertise, but the client (in this case, both your child and you, the parent/s) is the expert on him or herself.
The therapist seeks to help the client discover that he/she is powerful and capable of choosing positive thoughts and behaviors.
Treatment is often short-term. Clients actively participate in treatment in and out of session. Homework assignments often are included in therapy. The skills that are taught in these therapies require practice.
Treatment is goal-oriented to resolve present-day problems. Therapy involves working step-by-step to achieve goals.
What about me, the parent?
As a parent or parents, I want you to be involved as much as possible.
In order for you and your child to feel comfortable, you can be in the room for the first couple of sessions (or more).
As you learn the lessons I’m teaching your child, you’ll be able to support your child going forward.
What resources do you use?
I use a lot of the kids’ books from psychologist Dr. Dawn Huebner.
Dr. Kendall’s Coping Cat curriculum is great for a systematic approach to treating kids’ anxiety.
Keeping Your Cool, by Drs. Nelson and Finch, is an evidence-based curriculum to help kids learn to manage their anger.
Finally, I consult Treatments That Work With Children as a manual for the full range of kids’ challenges.
“Eight comprehensive and engaging chapters cover how to assess and treat the most common behavioral disorders in children: disruptive behavior, anxiety and depression, habit disorders (such as tics and thumbsucking), sleep disorders, encopresis, nocturnal enuresis, the treatment of pain, and adherence to medical regimens.”
When useful, I’ll also introduce apps that will help kids and parents reinforce what they’re learning in session.
How long does cognitive behavioral therapy last?
This will depend on yours and your child’s goals.
In general, cognitive behavioral therapy is considered a shorter-term therapy.
We want to measure progress by getting yours and your child’s feedback as we meet and we want to see a trend toward positive results.
Sessions vary from six to twenty.
As we meet, you’ll be learning specific skills (both parents and children) to bring better results.
Thank You, and Your Next Steps
If you’ve read this far, I applaud you!
You’ve done some research, and you’re ready to make your next move.
Don’t feel alone in your parenting journey.
Call me at 847.571.0274 to talk for a 15-minute strategy session.
I’ll listen to you and we can decide whether you’d like to meet for an initial session for you and your child to get to know me.
Or you may contact me via the form below. Please keep your message fairly general, so that you can protect your privacy and speak more specifically when we talk via phone.
Other Helpful Articles
Cognitive Behavior Therapy, from My Child Without Limits.
Effective Child Therapy, from the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
FAQs about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, from Understood.org
If you are, considering child counseling for your child, please contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.
In addition, to learn more about my practice, check out Child Counseling in Barrington, IL
Steve Borgman, LCPC, is a cognitive behavioral therapist and currently owns a private practice in Barrington, IL. To find out more about Steve, check Counseling and Psychotherapy in Barrington, IL.