On our web pages for child and adolescent anxiety and depression, we discuss specific applications of CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) proposes that people make evaluations about different areas of their lives, and based on how they are seeing what’s happening, conclude that they should feel depressed or anxious. When participating in CBT, your child’s therapist will help your child to consider the ways that they are evaluating different parts of their lives, and help them to look at things differently. If they are coming to therapy to deal with anxiety, your child’s therapist will also teach them coping skills for their anxiety, including different forms of relaxation training.
CBT is very compatible with Christianity, particularly with a a Scriptural emphasis on the importance of our thoughts in changing our behaviors. For example, Romans 12:2 encourages “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Scripture also highlights the importance of a person’s thought life. In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul writes “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (NIV).
With parental permission, spiritual practices can often be helpful in CBT. For example, when making evaluations about different parts of their lives, children can be helped to look at what is happening in light of their faith. This can be done by making general references to teachings from their faith, or more specifically, from specific passages from Scripture. When helping children and teens to cope with anxiety, prayer can be particularly helpful incorporated into various parts of relaxation training.