CBT for children and young people

As part of our substance misuse delivery, we can provide children and young people with access to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

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What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is a psychological treatment that aims to help young people understand why the problems they are experiencing began, and why they continue. It's a type of talking therapy which focuses on how thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect feelings and behaviour. It teaches coping skills for dealing with different problems.

CBT has been found to be effective when treating a range of mental health and wellbeing difficulties. It can be useful to people who experience difficulties with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Phobias, such as heights
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder

CBT is based on the idea that the way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave. 

For example, if you interpret a situation negatively then you might experience negative emotions as a result, and those bad feelings might then lead you to behave in a certain way. 

CBT works by helping the young person understand how their thoughts influence their emotions and behaviour. 

CBT aims to help the young person understand that their thoughts are not always accurate. Thoughts can sometimes be unhelpful and it is this pattern of thinking that can lead to difficulties with what we do (behaviour) and our emotions (how we feel). 

CBT can help a young person to build skills such as:

  • Helping them to understand how thoughts, emotions and behaviours work together
  • Helping them to understand what is keeping their problem going
  • Helping them to develop and try out potential ways of solving their problem
  • Helping them to become an expert in their own problem

A common misconception is that CBT is just about learning to think more positively - this is not true. The main goal of CBT is to help  a person develop a more balanced approach to thinking and change any unhelpful patterns and behaviours. 

If CBT is right for a young person, then they will meet with a CBT Therapist who will firstly, ask the young person to complete some questionnaires to get a better understanding of the things they are struggling with. 

They will meet with the CBT Therapist regularly - this can vary from person to person but is usually around every two weeks. 

The CBT Therapist will help the young person to understand their problems in more detail, and will work with them to discover new ways of dealing with them. The young person will be asked to try out new approaches and skills at home, and to feedback in the sessions as to how this has worked out. 

The therapist will also regularly discuss with the young person how they are finding the sessions, so that we can adapt how we work to get the most from the support they are receiving. 

Getting Support

If you are a young person accessing one of our services and are struggling with your mental health, please chat with your Young Person’s worker in the first instance.

If CBT is right for you, they will make the necessary arrangements for you to have an appointment with one of our CBT therapists.