Children’s perceptions of school-based cognitive behavioural therapy groups for mild anxiety: A qualitative investigation

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Gerrior, Katlyn
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in children. When considering treatment for anxiety, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most researched interventions. However, a recent Cochrane review suggested that CBT might not be as effective as once thought for treatment of anxiety in children. Given the contrasting results in the literature and the limited qualitative research investigating children’s perceptions of their CBT experiences, specific objectives of the current study were to (1) obtain first-hand accounts of participants’ experiences with a school based brief CBT group; (2) identify whether cognitive or behavioural components of CBT are most salient to children and (3) to determine which components of CBT were identified as being most useful for reducing anxiety in naturalistic settings. Interviews were completed and analysed using inductive content analysis. Participants’ overall experience was captured in the main theme of Children’s Conceptualization of CBT and four themes, Self-Regulation, Positive Self Talk, Descriptive Conceptualization and Combining Techniques. Clinical and school-based implications are discussed.
Cognitive behavioural therapy in children, menthal health, anxiety