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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 behavioral and cognitive strategies when working with children and adolescents displaying various forms of psychopathology (especially internalizing problems).

The course fosters students’ acquisition of some of the key clinical skills associated with CBT with young people, including:

  • treatment planning

  • problem solving

  • cognitive restructuring

  • relaxation training

  • systematic desensitization.

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?

The lecture series promotes students’ in-depth knowledge of the key components of CBT with young people, placing emphasis upon the most recent literature addressing the theory and practice of CBT. The corresponding work group sessions make use of demonstrations, supervised skills practice, and discussion, in order to promote students’ acquisition of the skills. Between-work group activities that are conducted with young people provide additional practice of the various 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). These activities are a focus of discussion in the work group sessions, and students report on their between-work group activities via the preparation of assignments.

Course objectives

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

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the following aspects of conducting CBT with young people:

    • the cognitive-behavioural model of behaviour change;
    • the developmentally-sensitive selection and application of cognitive and behavioural interventions;
    • targets of assessment in cognitive therapy;
    • strategies for modifying unhelpful cognition;
    • the empirical support for cognitive and behavioural interventions with young people.
  • Interview young people to conduct basic level assessment of cognitive data, modification of unhelpful cognition, and promotion of helpful cognition.

  • Identify their own ‘strengths and soft-spots’ with regard to assessing and addressing the cognition of young people.


Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy with Young People (2011-2012):

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.

Assessment method

  • Nine workgroup assignments (5 practical and 4 theoretical assignments; 60% of final mark)

  • Active participation in workgroups (20% of final mark)

  • Essay (20% 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. (2005). Cognitive behaviour therapy for children and families (2nd 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.
    • Hudson, J. L. (2005). Efficacy of cognitive-behavioural therapy for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders. Behaviour Change, 22, 55-70.
    • Kendall, P. et al. (2008). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disordered youth: A randomized clinical trial evaluating child and family modalities. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 282-297.
    • 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.
    • Lohaus, A., Klein-Hessling, J. (2003). Relaxation in children: Effects of extended and intensified training. Psychology and Health, 18, 237-249.
    • Suveg, C., et al. (2006). Adapting manualized CBT for a cognitively delayed child with multiple anxiety disorders. Clinical Case Studies, 5, 488-510.
    • 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.
    • Thienemann, M., et al. (2006). A parent-only group intervention for children with anxiety disorders: Pilot study. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Anxiety, 45, 37-46.
    • 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.

Master’s introduction and enrolment day

Make a reservation in your agenda so you will not miss any information that you will need during your master’s programme MSc in Psychology. Please consult the Agenda master meetings

Contact information

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