Cognitive therapy is a scientifically proven method of treatment that works for younger patients as effectively as it does for adults. It helps in the treatment of some disorders like anxiety, behaviour, depression, and physical complaints that are not caused by an actual physical condition. Most often it is used in conjunction with behavioral therapy and is frequently aimed at trying to break the circle of thought – emotion – behavior that is assumed to cause most of the symptoms that the therapy is intended to improve. Cognitive therapy is an attempt to change the thought into a more realistic and helpful one thus breaking the circle.
In treating children the stressors are not usually the same as for adults. A child might have impracticable goals that are reinforced by adults in his or her life: perfection as the only acceptable outcome is a major one. When perfection is the only goal then failure will be the most usual experience for a child which is a very unhappy feeling indeed. In order to avoid the bad feelings of failure sometimes finds that he or she can be perfectly bad which almost feels like a success, and success leads to further acting out. Breaking this cycle by making trial and error an acceptable outcome, a success, takes the burden of failure away and can lead to a change in behavior by the redefinition of success. Cognitive therapy is focused on breaking the circle at the thought phase with both children and adolescents. Helping the child to focus on the thought and bringing that step in the cycle come more under his or her control can help him or her to see the misconceptions in the thoughts and thereby change his or her behavior to the reality of the situation rather than continue in the avoidance behaviors that are inappropriate. Cognitive therapy has shown to be quite effective in numerous studies