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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with Young People


Admission requirements

  • Only open to Master students in Child and Adolescent Psychology.


Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used and scientifically supported psychological intervention for young people experiencing social-emotional and behavioral problems. The knowledge and skills developed in this course are especially relevant to the work conducted with children and adolescents in clinical settings. They are also relevant for psychologists working in schools. Although the course focuses predominantly on working directly with the young person, attention is also given to CBT-related work conducted with parents/carers (particularly behavioural interventions), working in a culturally competent manner, and working with schools.

This Masters-level course, which combines theory and practice, provides education and training in the application of CBT with young people, especially those experiencing internalizing problems. It differs from the Master-level course Behaviour Training with Children by predominanty focusing upon the application of cognitive strategies (as opposed to behavioral strategies) when working with adolescents (as opposed to children). However, some attention is also given to the use of cognitive strategies with children.

The course fosters students’ acquisition of some of the key clinical skills associated with CBT with young people, including: building a therapeutic alliance, providing psyco-education, assessing cognition, cognitive restructuring, problem solving, and setting home tasks. Specific attention is given to the developmentally sensitive application of these interventions when working with young people of different ages. For example, how does clinical work with an 8-year-old child with separation anxiety differ from that with a 16-year-old with social anxiety?


Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy with Young People (2014-2015): Will be announced later.



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Please consult the Instructions registration

Mode of instruction

  • 6 lectures introducing the theory and principles of cognitive-behaviour therapy with young people.

  • 6 workgroups facilitating training in the application of cognitive and behavioral techniques.

Course objectives

The lecture series promotes students’ knowledge of key components of CBT with young people, especially the process of conducting cognitive therapy. The corresponding workgroup sessions make use of demonstrations, supervised skills practice, and discussion, to promote students’ acquisition of the CBT skills presented during the lectures. In between the workgroup sessions students conduct meetings with an adolescent to gain additional practice of the skills (students are expected to find a suitable young person with whom they can practice the skills; relevant information is provided on Blackboard prior to commencement of the course). Students prepare for the meetings with the adolescent via the preparation of theoretical assignments. They reflect upon their use of CBT skills via the preparation of practical assignments and during discussion in the workgroup sessions. Throughout the course emphasis is placed upon recent literature addressing both the theory and practice of CBT.

On completion of this course it is expected that students will be able to:

  • describe the cognitive-behavioural model of behaviour change;

  • explain how and why cognitive and behavioural interventions are applied in a developmentally-sensitive way with young people;

  • specify four main targets of assessment in cognitive therapy;

  • specify at least 15 methods to detect young people’s cognition;

  • specify at least 5 methods for modifying the unhelpful cognition of young people;

  • build a working relationship with a young person;

  • help a young person understand what cognitive therapy is and how it works;

  • engage an adolescent in collaborative detection of helpful and unhelpful cognition;

  • engage an adolescent in collaborative modification of a young person’s unhelpful cognition;

  • engage an adolescent in the practice of helpful cognition;

  • identify their own ‘strengths and soft-spots’ in working with young people and in the detection and modification of young people’s cognition.

Assessment method

  • Nine workgroup assignments (5 practical and 4 theoretical assignments; 70% of final mark)

  • Active participation in workgroups (30% of final mark)

The Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud


Information on

Reading list

  • Textbook:
    Graham, P.J., & Reynolds, A. (2013). Cognitive behaviour therapy for children and families (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Approximately one-half of the text is prescribed reading.]

  • Readings available via ‘Blackboard’. Exemplary literature includes:

    • Bares, C.B. (2011). Emerging metacognitive processes during childhood: Implications for intervention development with children. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 28, 291-299.
    • Doherr, L., et al. (2005). Young children’s ability to engage in cognitive therapy tasks: Associations with age and educational experience. _Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 33, _201-215.
    • Friedberg, R.D., & Wilt, L.H. (2010). Metaphors and stories in cognitive behavioral therapy with children. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 28, 100-113.
    • Kendall, P., Barmish, A. J. (2007). Show-That-I-Can (homework) in cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxious youth: Individualizing homework for Robert. _Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 14, _289-296.
    • Maric, M., Heyne, D., Van Widenfelt, B. M., & Westenberg, P. M. (2011). Distorted cognitive processing in youth: The structure of negative cognitive errors and their associations with anxiety. _Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35, _11-20.
    • Sauter, F., Heyne, D., & Westenberg, P. M. (2009). Cognitive behavior therapy for anxious adolescents: Developmental influences on treatment design and delivery. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 12, 310-335.
    • Stallard, P. (2009). _Anxiety: Cognitive behaviour therapy with children and young people. _London: Routledge.
    • Suveg, C., Comer, J.S., Furr, J.M., & Kendall, P.C. (2006). Adapting manualized CBT for a cognitively delayed child with multiple anxiety disorders. Clinical Case Studies, 5, 488-510.

Contact information

Dr. D. Heyne
contact via secretary room 3B48
phone +31 71 5273644