Adapting cognitive behavioral therapy for anxious children and adolescents

Ella L. Oar*, Lauren F. McLellan, Ronald M. Rapee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article discusses considerations for adapting cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques and processes with anxious children and adolescents. To successfully deliver CBT with this population, the therapist must take into consideration the child's developmental level and other contextual factors that may affect treatment outcome. Suggested adaptions to CBT include the use of rewards, technology, and interactive activities to increase child motivation and engagement. Moreover, dependent on the child's or adolescent's cognitive capacity, cognitive techniques will need to be simplified and concrete examples provided to increase children's understanding. It may be beneficial to have parents and/or schools involved in children's treatment to assist them to implement CBT strategies outside of the therapy setting. A case example is presented to illustrate the implementation of CBT with a child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • anxiety
  • cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • child
  • adolescent


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