Is cognitive behavior therapy developmentally appropriate for young children? A critical review of the evidence

J. Grave, J. Blissett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper questions the extent to which developmental considerations have been incorporated into the theory and practice of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It focuses on children aged between 5 and 8 years because Piagetian developmental theory places them at a prelogical cognitive level, and thus, the use of a therapeutic approach that is based on a rationalist paradigm would be considered inappropriate. The cognitive demands made upon 5- to 8-year-old children by CBT are outlined, and the current developmental literature is reviewed in the light of this to evaluate the cognitive abilities of this age group. The models underpinning CBT are examined for evidence of the influence of developmental psychology, and the outcome literature of CBT techniques is then scrutinized to evaluate the efficacy of these techniques with young children. Conclusions are reached regarding the appropriateness of current cognitive-behavioral approaches with young children, and the implications for alternative approaches are briefly considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-420
Number of pages22
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Volume24
Issue number4
Early online date7 Jul 2004
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Developmental psychology
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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