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Chapter image Chapter 15: Strategy 13: Cognitive behavioural therapy

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13. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Used mainly with learners with depressive and anxiety disorders as well as aggressiveness, school refusal and post-traumatic stress disorders, CBT is usually carried out by trained professionals. However, you could employ some of the basic principles in dealing with such learners in your classes. Certainly, you should be aware of these principles if any of your pupils are receiving CBT.

Essentially, CBT involves helping individuals to change negative ways of thinking about themselves, which should lead to changes in behaviour and, ultimately to reduced negative feelings.


Mitchell, 2014, pp162–173.

  1. Learners who have negative thoughts about themselves are encouraged to replace these thoughts with more realistic and helpful thoughts.
  2. Ensuring that such learners experience success is a critical factor.
  3. They are helped to process information in social situations, responding appropriately to social cues if they are prone to mis-reading them.
  4. You are alert to any serious and prolonged distortions of feelings and thoughts that any of your learners demonstrate and refer them on for professional help.
  1. All four indicators are met.
  2. Three of the indicators are met.
  3. Two of the indicators are met.
  4. Only one or no indicator is met.

YouTubeYouTube links

An introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Aaron Beck). (17.47 UK)

An introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy developed by Aaron Beck. In this presentation the main ideas of the therapy and the history of its ideas and practice are discussed.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques. (5.21 UK)

CBT in action with Mark Walsh discusses a range of topics: how to manage your thinking to reduce stress, improve leadership, resilience, communication, thinking errors, stories, narratives, etc. STUN techniques from Roger Mills are described. For education purposes only, CBT or any other therapeutic techniques should only be done with a trained therapist.


websitesWeb links

National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists.

A brief overview of CBT.


journalsJournal links

Bywater, T. and Sharples, J. (2012). ‘Effective evidence-based interventions for emotional well-being: Lessons for policy and practice’. Research Papers in Education, 27(4), 389–408.

This article maps the British political trajectory from understanding the importance of social and emotional well-being, to delivering programmes in schools that enhance it. It summarizes the outcomes of a selective review of effective school-based interventions and draws out lessons for policy and practice regarding choice and implementation of programmes. Among universal and targeted evidence-based interventions, multi-modal/component approaches appear useful in promoting cross-context competence and well-being. However, the scaling up of effective programmes remains unsuccessful and there is a lack of cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analyzes surrounding effective programmes.

Rait, S., Monsen, J.L. and Squires, G. (2010). ‘Cognitive Behaviour Therapies and their implications for applied educational psychology practice’. Educational Psychology in Practice, 26(2), 105–122.

This paper critically considers the growing interest in the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapies to support children and young people presenting with a wide range of socialā€emotional difficulties. To develop a critical understanding of the principles and core components of Cognitive Behaviour Therapies, two prominent approaches are reviewed. These are Ellis’s Rationalā€Emotive Behaviour Therapy and Beck’s Cognitive Therapy. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the ways in which educational psychologists can directly and/or indirectly support the delivery of Cognitive Behaviour Therapies in their work.