Cognitive Behavior Therapy for young children with anxiety: Considerations for a Low Resource Setting like India
Anxiety is more prevalent than thought earlier in children and may manifest when they are as young as 4-5 years of age. Many researchers have believed that anxiety symptoms in pre-schoolers and young children are transient difficulties that children grow out of with age. However, research studies have shown that a large percentage of children with anxiety in early childhood continue to have anxiety symptoms as adolescents and adults. It is, therefore, necessary to identify anxiety early in children and treat it to prevent long term consequences. Anxious parents are likely to make their children genetically predisposed to anxiety and also provide environments that are anxiety protective. Although cognitive behavioral interventions have been tried and evaluated with older children successfully, there is much less literature on using this approach with younger children.
This paper looks at available literature on using cognitive behavioral techniques with children especially younger children – the modifications needed, use of parents as co- therapists and unique developmental considerations. The current understanding and research on clinical outcomes are discussed. Long term outcomes of children treated with CBT is also summarized.