A series of new studies has shown that a certain form of psychotherapy can not only help youth to develop skills for coping and identify the source of the issue, but also can directly decrease feelings of anxiety for children as well as adolescents.
Many people have heard the term ‘talk therapy’ when referring to traditional psychological therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy however is a more active therapy based on actually modifying the thinking patterns that cause irrational behavior. A major difference that cognitive-behavioral therapy has with traditional therapy is that it does not focus at all on the past by trying to find the original source of the problem.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a much more cooperative type of therapy where the therapist works directly with the patient in an attempt to record all of the abnormal thoughts and actions that the patient is experiencing.
A systematic review was conducted in terms of the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy. A systematic review involves drawing conclusions based on evidence from medical practices including both the quality and content of current medical trials about the topic at hand. This systematic review analyzed 13 different studies of youth with anxiety disorders, from moderate to severe, that were directly treated by using cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Professionals in the field believe that this could be extremely useful information that can provide relief to parents that could like to have a better approach to dealing with their child’s anxiety other than a pharmaceutical one. In most cases of anxiety, the first attempt to treatment normally involves being prescribed medication. Due to the constantly emerging information as to risks and side effects involved with certain medications, many parents are very wary of agreeing to treat their child’s anxiety with medications.
However, for mild to moderate anxiety, beginning with cognitive-behavioral therapy makes much more sense, according to professionals. According to psychiatrist Anthony James, medications shouldn’t be abolished if they are absolutely necessary since psychological treatments have side effects of their own. Cognitive-behavioral therapy however, according to James, has very few negative risks.
The results of studies involving 498 patients that were immediately treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy was then compared to 311 children that also have similar mood disorders and anxiety but did not receive treatment right away.
To explain the benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy, the systematic review found that for each added youth to receive relief from their anxiety, a psychiatrist only needs to treat three patients. James stated that it is clear that cognitive-behavioral therapy does work and has clear benefits over controls that involve waiting.
This type of therapy is also believed to have long-term benefits over medication which can result in relapse once the medications are stopped. It is a type of therapy that is growing more and more popular as time goes on and some therapists are using it in combination with insight therapy.
Hareyan, A. 2005. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Eases Anxiety in Children and Adolescents.