Borrowing from the Professionals: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment
Research supported interventions, or evidence-based interventions, offer insight about effective perspectives and actions. Two evidence-based psychosocial interventions are Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) and Parent Management Training (Mallon & Hess, 2005). These interventions require professional guidance, but their basic elements reveal how they can be of assistance to a child with emotional behavioral disability.
Cognitive Behavioral Treatment has proven effective for a variety of emotional and behavior disorders exhibited by children and adolescents, including anxiety and depression, adjustment disorders, eating disorders, and conduct disorders (Mallon & Hess, 2005). The cognitive processes of children with emotional or behavioral disabilities may be impaired causing social tension. Mallon and Hess (2005) said that cognitive distortions are believed to play a major role in affective disorders in children, because their immature cognitive development heightens the possibility if misinterpreting or misperceiving situations or events. Cognitive distortions are a crucial reason to increase communication with a child experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges. The child will not be able to express or elaborate their thought processes if they are not encouraged and engaged in open communication. It is important to remember that the child will not know that distorted thought processes may be the cause of emotional and behavioral challenges. CBT helps a child recognize how cognitive distortions influence dysfunctional occurrences.
The focus of CBT is on (1) changing cognitive distortions that contribute to the child’s anxiety or depression; (2) learning new behaviors and skills for coping with anxiety-provoking situations; (3) testing newly acquired skills in novel situations; and, (4) processing their outcomes with the therapist (Mallon & Hess, 2005). Analyzing the environments in which a child often struggles may reveal faulty thinking and actions. An example would be if a child is simply running toward the group of children he or she would like to play with on the playground and not initiating any verbal form of communication. The children will not know the child’s intentions and may even run away. A child experiencing such perceived resistance might continuously feel rejected after many failed attempts at joining a group. The child will have to learn how to ask the other children if he or she may join them in play. The child will have to practice this skill and may experience anxiety before, during or after implementation. Coping skills to relieve this anxiety could include deep breathing, visualization techniques and positive self-talk. Professional therapeutic help will allow for the processing of outcomes in order to reveal significance and insight for future interactions.