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Cognitive behavioural therapy for children and adolescents

Muñoz-Solomando, Antonioa; Kendall, Timb; Whittington, Craig Jc

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2008 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - p 332–337
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e328305097c
Child and adolescent psychiatry: Edited by Richard Williams and Philip Hazell

Purpose of review The aim is to summarize recent evidence from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guidelines and high-quality systematic reviews for the use of cognitive behavioural therapy to treat children and adolescents with mental health problems.

Recent findings Data from meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials suggest that the best evidence for the potential of cognitive behavioural therapy is in the treatment of children and adolescents with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. More limited evidence suggests that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and behavioural problems may also respond to cognitive behavioural therapy. We found no or insufficient evidence to determine whether cognitive behavioural therapy is useful for the treatment of antisocial behaviour, psychotic and related disorders, eating disorders, substance misuse and self-harm behaviour.

Summary Clinical guidelines and recent systematic reviews establish that cognitive behavioural therapy has a potentially important role in improving the mental health of children and adolescents.

aChild and Family Centre Tonteg, Wales, UK

bNational Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, Royal College of Psychiatrists Research Unit, London, UK

cUniversity College London, UK

Correspondence to Tim Kendall, Sheffield Care Trust, Fulwood House, Old Fulwood Road, Sheffield S10 2DJ, UK Tel: +44 0114 2716715; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.