Determining Treatment Length in CBT

In this video from a recent Beck Institute workshop, Drs. Aaron Beck, Judith Beck, and Torrey Creed discuss the variability in length of CBT treatment. While many clients improve after 10-20 sessions, determining the length of treatment is a collaborative process that depends on the client’s goals and individual case formulation. Factors associated with length of treatment often include the severity of illness, personality, and level of support.

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Child Perfectionism May Impact CBT Anxiety Treatment Outcomes

A recent study published in Behavior Research and Therapy investigated the effect of child perfectionism before treatment on the outcome of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for anxiety.  Perfectionism is typically defined as a trait involving personally demanding standards for performance.  Although a link has been found between perfectionism and adult anxiety treatment outcomes, there is a paucity of research on how perfectionism impacts CBT anxiety treatment in children.  Participants included 67 children ages 6-13 who were attending a group-based CBT program for their primary diagnoses of anxiety as part of a larger randomized controlled trial.  While perfectionism reduced following CBT anxiety treatment, higher levels of pre-treatment self-oriented perfectionism predicted higher levels of anxiety symptoms (self-reported) following treatment and at the 6-month follow up. Thus, some features of perfectionism may present as an obstacle for desirable treatment outcomes in children with anxiety.  Research is warranted to further understand the link between perfectionism and anxiety in children and how to enhance the ability to identify children at risk for anxiety and improve CBT interventions for anxious children.

Mitchell, J. H., Newall, C., Broeren, S., & Hudson, J. L. (September 01, 2013). The role of perfectionism in cognitive behaviour therapy outcomes for clinically anxious children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51, 9, 547-554.

CBT for Childhood Trauma

In this video from Beck Institute’s recent CBT Workshop for Students and Faculty, Dr. Aaron Beck summarizes the process of treating patients who have experienced childhood trauma. Analyzing childhood experiences is an integral part of developing cognitive formulations of many individual patients, especially those with Axis II disorders. Sharing this formulation with patients often helps them to modify their maladaptive beliefs about themselves. In some cases, it is necessary for patients to relive a traumatic childhood experience (via imaginal exercises) to help them formulate an objective, dispassionate view of their experience at both the intellectual and emotional level.

Beck Institute hosts specialized workshops throughout the year including, CBT for Children and Adolescents. For more information, visit our website.


CBT for Children and Adolescents

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children and Adolescents

Dr. Aaron Beck at Beck Institute's CBT for Children and Adolescent's Workshop

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Social Competence Influences CBT Treatment Response in Anxious Youth

According to a recent study published in Child Psychiatry & Human Development, there are significant associations between measures of social functioning and the severity of a child’s principal anxiety disorder. Further, social competence is likely to influence several key elements of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and CBT treatment response.

Participants (161, ages 7-14) diagnosed with a principal anxiety disorder participated in a randomized clinical trial. They received either individual CBT treatment, family CBT treatment, or an active comparison treatment (family-based education, support, and attention). According to results, children rated to be more socially competent by their mothers prior to treatment were more likely to respond positively to CBT and were less likely to have their initial anxiety continue to meet diagnostic criteria at a 1-year follow up, than children rated less socially competent. Future research should explore the mechanisms through which social competence may impact treatment response and mediators of the relationship better poor social functioning and anxiety in youth.

Settipani, C. A., Kendall, P.C. (2012). Social functioning in Youth with Anxiety Disorders: Association with Anxiety Severity and Outcomes from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Child Psychiatry & Human Development.

Long-Term Study on Family Group Cognitive-Behavioral Preventative Intervention Shows Promising Results in Children Whose Parents Have Major Depressive Disorder

A recent study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that a family group cognitive-behavioral (FGCB) preventative intervention for children (9-15 years old) whose parents have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) significantly lowered the rates of MDD onset in children during a 2-year intervention period. The rates of MDD in children in the FGCB preventative intervention were reduced by half compared to a written information group in which families were mailed educational materials on depression. These findings suggest a need for effective preventive interventions for children of depressed parents.

Compas, B. E., Forehand, R., Thigpen, J. C., Keller, G., Hardcastle, E. J., Cole, D. A., & … Roberts, L. (2011). Family group cognitive–behavioral preventive intervention for families of depressed parents: 18- and 24-month outcomes. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 79(4), 488-499. doi:10.1037/a0024254

CBT for Disaster-Exposed Youth with PTSD

A recent study published in Behavior Therapy provides initial evidence for the efficacy of manualized Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for disaster-exposed youth with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Previous research suggests that group-based CBT is effective in decreasing post-traumatic stress levels in youth. Treatment is often difficult to obtain for this population, however, due to lack of resources. The current study eliminated this obstacle by providing treatment within a school setting.

The current research was conducted on six youth exposed to Hurricane Katrina. The participants ranged from ages 8 to 13 from neighborhoods that experienced significant destruction following the disaster. Master’s level graduate students administered pre and post-tests to participants, and treatment was conducted by a doctoral level therapist using the StArT intervention— a trauma-focused CBT program designed specifically for hurricane-exposed youth. Treatment consisted of 10 sessions which included psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring, exposure, problem solving, and relapse prevention.

Following the intervention, participants showed a decline in PTSD symptoms and no longer met criteria for PTSD at post-treatment. Half of the participants reported no other anxiety disorder diagnoses following treatment, and there was an overall reduction in the incidence of other anxiety problems common in this population.  While replication studies and further assessments are needed, the StArT manual shows promising potential as an effective CBT manual for disaster-exposed youth.

Taylor, L.K & Weems, C.F. (2011). Cognitive-behavior therapy for disaster-exposed youth with posttraumatic stress: Results from a multiple-baseline examination. Behavior Therapy, 42, 349-363.

Cognitive Conceptualization

At a recent workshop Dr. Aaron Beck described how to utilize cognitive case conceptualization in treatment of children with autism. This video was taken at Beck Institute’s Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children and Adolescents Workshop. For more information visit

CBT for Psychosis

In this video Dr. Aaron T. Beck answers a question about CBT treatment for at-risk adolescents with psychosis. Dr. Beck explains past research and significant findings that have led to efficacious cognitive therapy treatment protocol for treating adolescents with psychosis. To find out how you can learn more about CBT for Children and Adolescents visit and for treating psychosis using cognitive therapy for patients with schizophrenia visit