Cognitive Development: Behavior Therapy

Today, various theories are developed and utilized in counseling children. There has been extensive development in modern science and progress in the field of Psychology, following ingenuity of several new practical methods and approaches for psychoanalysis and psychotherapy by theorists. ‘CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is known as one of them. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and boosts happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts (Psychology today,2019)’. CBT is a distinct counseling theory because it focuses “on the ways that a child or adolescent’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected, and how they affect one another (Thomas & Drake, 2012)”. It encourages to change irrational and negative thinking patterns to alleviate the psychological symptoms that are caused by their thoughts. CBT rests on the idea that thoughts and perceptions impact behavior and behaviors are directly related to our thoughts (Gumport, Williams, & Harvey, 2015).

During the counseling process, children and adolescents will communicate their issues such as anxiety, depression, and fear with the counselors to overcome behavior problems. CBT has been shown to be effective in many evidence-based studies, with reduced negative symptoms for clients and more positive health outcomes and changes in their daily lives (Thomas & Drake, 2012).

‘Cognitive behavioral therapy was invented by a psychiatrist, Aaron Beck, in the 1960s. He was doing psychoanalysis at the time and observed that during his analytical sessions, his patients tended to have an internal dialogue going on in their minds — almost as if they were talking to themselves. It was during the 1970s and 1980s that CBT gained popularity, stating that this is when it was found to be more amenable to clinical trials and was thus considered to be more scientific in its approaches than the other approaches of that era (Martin, 2018)’. Cognitive behavioral therapy is utilized to treat various issues such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and emotional disturbances. Therapy is also beneficial for people of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. Initially, the assessment and formulation aimed to provide an individualized treatment program for clients exhibiting a variety of clinical problems.

The Children Therapist/Counselor who works among children, work both with a child and parents or caretaker to identify the origin of the problem and address the possible resolutions. CBT incorporates learning to accept that distress is a component of life and how to manage healthily. ‘CBT interventions can best be described as occurring in phases starting with socialization, assessment and case formulation, moving into treatment interventions and ending with evaluation (Martin, 2018.)’ The therapy is often, short term, as the client actively engages in therapeutic activities in and out of the formal sessions. There will be a precise schedule, and objectives for each session with the ultimate goal of therapy is to change “irrational beliefs into more sensible ones.Taking into account the number of publications/studies, academic programs, and/or practicing professionals, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is arguably the gold standard of the psychotherapy field(David, Cristea,& Hofmann, 2018)’.

According to Hofman et.all(2014), CBT therapeutic approach that has been applied to a variety of problems:substance use disorder, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, depression and dysthymia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders, eating disorders, insomnia, personality disorders, anger and aggression, criminal behaviors, general stress, distress due to general medical conditions, chronic pain and fatigue, distress related to pregnancy complications and female hormonal conditions.The comprehensive survey of meta-analyses examining the efficacy of CBT examining 269 meta-analytic studies and review of the 106 meta-analyses examining has revealed the benefits of CBT.

Moreover, the meta-analytic reviews examined the efficacy of CBT for various problems in children and elderly adults. CBT and other treatment approach were applied to treat anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders, bulimia, anger control problems, and general stress in the children and adults. Eleven studies were conducted to measure the response rates between CBT and other treatments. CBT showed higher response rates in comparison to other methods.

Thus, while there is good evidence for the efficacy of CBT in children aged 8 and older (Minde,Roy,Bezonsky,& Hashemi, 2010). In the pilot study and research was done to a group of 32 children aged 5–7 years in a 12-week, and compared them to 11 children on a 2.5 -5 months waiting period to find out the effectiveness of CBT. Results showed that children who received CBT no longer displayed any Axis I anxiety disorder after the group treatment, based on well-validated assessment measures. CBT therapy was also utilized on two children aged 4 and 6 who had experienced the flooding of New Orleans and showed signs of PTSD, as did their mothers. The study of the outcomes revealed that a CBT therapy, which was employed, including mothers and their young together with children is not only practically feasible but also significant to reduce anxiety to both child and mother.

To summarize, the Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has proved to be an effective form of treatment therapy to work with children who are in need of coping skill and struggling with various mental health problems. CBT has been established as a proven therapy, which is helpful to reduce symptoms, change thought patterns, improve self-esteem and overcome negative thinking instilling positive in children.