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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with Young People


Admission requirements

  • MSc. course Behaviour Training with Children (or familiarity with the material covered in G. Martin & J. Pear (2006), Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it. (8th edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.)

  • 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. This Masters-level course, combining theory and practice, provides education and training in the application of CBT with young people. It builds upon the Masters-level course in Behaviour Training with Children by focusing upon the application of cognitive strategies (as well as behavioral strategies) when working with adolescents (as well as children) displaying internalizing problems. The course fosters students’ acquisition of some of the key clinical skills associated with CBT with young people, including: building a therapeutic alliance, cognitive restructuring, problem solving, and relaxation training. 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 (2013-2014):

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 the 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 cognitive data with young people;

  • 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)

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. 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:

    • 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.
    • Manassis, K. (2009). _Cognitive behavioral therapy with children: A guide for the community practitioner. _New York: Routledge.
    • 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.
    • Weersing, V. R., Gonzalez, A., Campo, J. V., & Lucas, A. N. (2008). Brief behavioral therapy for pediatric anxiety and depression: Piloting an integrated treatment approach._ Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 15,_ 126-139.


Course enrolment

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis on the master’s introduction and course enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. Please, consult the master’s agenda Psychology.

Contact information

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