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Children and Young Peoples Page

Young people look for support for many reasons, from feeling unhappy, sad, scared or worried, to experiencing strong feelings in their body like their heart racing or feeling sick.  Sometimes these feelings start to cause difficulties that can lead to you reducing or stopping the things that you would normally enjoy, like hobbies, seeing friends, or going to certain places like school.  Sometimes young people might still be doing these things but finding it harder or more worrying to do.  When you feel like this, one of the ways that can start to help is by joining a therapist in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is also known as CBT for short (that's a bit easier to remember!).  But what does CBT mean?  Let's break it down together...


…this is a word used to describe thoughts or words that run through your head but also pictures and images that you might also see in your mind. Talking, drawing or playing out your thoughts or images can help you to understand how you feel and the way you act and how all of these parts of you work together.



…this is a word used to describe behaviour, or how we act and the way that we do things, or don’t do things. Sometimes it helps to look at how we act in different situations, for example at school or at home and also around different people like our parent/ guardians, teachers or friends.  


…this is something that is used to help people to understand their difficulties a little better and help to make some changes in order to feel differently.  Someone who provides therapy is known as a therapist.

In CBT you and your therapist will talk or use other creative ways of thinking about your thoughts and images, what you do and how you feel. Then together, you can work out the best way to make changes and help with any difficulties.  CBT makes sense of problems by looking at your ideas that you have and patterns of behaviour which you have learnt during your life so far which can sometimes be unhelpful.  CBT sees these unhelpful thoughts and behaviours as things that may be keeping your problems going. For most of the therapy you will focus on what is going on now to keep your problems going, rather than looking at the past, when you were a bit younger.   

What to Expect

If you and your therapist decide that CBT might be helpful for you, you will then:

  • Agree on some goals which you would like to work on

  • Meet with your therapist regularly, these might include other family members but we will talk about this with you first.

  • Talk with your therapist about how you feel, what you are doing and how you think about things.

  • Be honest and open - your therapist will do the same.

  • Complete tasks between sessions that you and your therapist agree together.  This is also known as ‘inter-session tasks’ which could be things such as keeping notes of what happens during the week, practicing particular skills, or trying out new ways of tackling problems.

  • Tell your therapist if there is anything you don’t understand.

There are usually between six and twenty therapy sessions.  Often we suggest to start with four or five sessions as a chance to see whether this kind of therapy suits you (as there are other therapies available) and whether you feel able to build a good relationship with your therapist in order for you to feel comfortable to work together.  A session will usually last anywhere between 40 and 60 minutes, probably once a week to start with.


Lots of young people that we see often tell us at the beginning of therapy that they worry about what information we might share with other people that is discussed in therapy.  Everything that we talk about together is confidential.  This means that what we discuss is kept between us, unless you agree and give us permission for someone to be involved, like your parents or guardians or your for us to talk to your GP or school for example if you think it might be helpful.  Without your permission, we will not share anything you discuss with us.  There is only one situation that we may go against this and that is if we become worried about your safety or the safety of others, then it may be that we will need to contact someone about this.  This doesn't happen often, but in these cases, we will always try to discuss this with you first, although sometimes this may not always be possible, we will try our best to.  We keep some brief therapy notes (because we're old and our memory is terrible!) which we promise are kept safely.  You can ask to see these at any point if you wish.  These notes are kept for a period of time after your therapy finishes.

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