Cognitive therapy is a scientifically proven treatment method that works for younger patients as effectively as it does for adults. It helps treat some disorders like anxiety, behaviour, depression, and physical complaints that are not caused by an actual physical condition. It is often used in conjunction with behavioural therapy and is frequently aimed at trying to break the circle of thought — emotion — behaviour that is assumed to cause most of the symptoms that the therapy intends 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 reinforced by adults in their life- perfection as the only acceptable outcome is a major one. When perfection is the only goal, failure will be the most usual experience for a child, which is a very unhappy feeling. To avoid the bad feelings of failure, the child sometimes finds that they 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 takes away the burden of failure and can lead to a change in behaviour by the redefinition of success.
Cognitive therapy is focused on breaking the circle at the thought phase for both children and adolescents. Helping the child to focus on the thought and bringing that step in the cycle under their control can help them to see the misconceptions in the thoughts and thereby change their behaviour to the reality of the situation rather than continue in the inappropriate avoidance behaviours. Cognitive therapy has shown to be quite effective in numerous studies.