Brisbane Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
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Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

CBT is long established as a method of choice for depression and a range of other disorders in children, adolescents and adults. Barrett, Duffy, Dadds, and Rapee (2001, p. 135-6) observe that CBT alone, as well as CBT plus family management/treatment, showed greater improvement on a variety of measures at a 12-month follow-up when compared with a group without treatment. More specifically, “clients that received family training also showed significantly greater improvement than the CBT-only group on a number of measures” (Barrett et al., 2001, p. 136).

CBT addresses distorted and unhelpful patterns of thinking that result in low mood and depression. Based on the assumption that negative thoughts result in negative emotions and well-adapted positive thoughts result in positive emotions, CBT tries to correct cognitive distortions by introducing well-adjusted thinking patterns. Core elements of CBT are

  • Cognitive restructuring: Identifying negative thoughts and replacing these by positive thinking styles.
  • Modelling: Practicing successful behaviour for critical situations; plus
  • Relaxation training: This may include calming (breathing) techniques and progressive muscle relaxation. These can be adjusted for young children.

CBT is normally complemented by psychoeducation to explain the nature of the mental health problem, the foundation of CBT and the importance of input from the medical profession.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).

Parker, Parker, Brotchie, and Stuart (2006) review the value of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) for depression in adolescents since IPT has been considered as an alternative to CBT. IPT assumes that a psychological or social stressor, in conjunction with insufficient social support, can result in depression. IPT is then working with expectations that are the foundation of interpersonal relationships and activation of a social support network. As a result of their review, Parker et al. (2006) conclude that “IPT is unlikely to be a universal therapy for depression” (and in vivo, sometime indistinguishable from CBT).

Family Therapy and CBT.

Within the broad context of family therapy, Byng-Hall (1995, p. 2) describes a secure family base as one that “provides a reliable network of attachment relationships in which all family members of whatever age are able to feel sufficiently secure to explore." He continues that “the term ‘network’ implies a shared family responsibility that assures everyone that any member who is in need of help will be cared for” (Byng-Hall, 1995, p. 2). For children, “it means an expectation of reliable handover and hand-back within the family network”. The intervention aims at creating a secure family network to address behavioural problems that have arisen in the past.

Byng-Hall (1995, p. 6) argues that a family therapist can provide a “temporarily secure base for the whole family during therapy”. The overall aim is to “use this secure base to help the family explore ways of improving the security of the family's attachment network” (Byng- Hall, 1995, p. 7). The family can then use the secure base to establish closer and more satisfying relationships.

Following Byng-Hall (1995, p. 7) again, it is essential to establish a warm relationship with each member of the family. This means meetings with the family during initial stages of therapy and in longer intervals after a few months.

Please note that Brisbane Cognitive Psychology is not able to offer crisis services. Therefore, if you or a loved one is thinking or talking about suicide then you will need to seek urgent medical attention or alternatively call a crisis service such as Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Please call 1300 798 598 or email today for your first appointment. Immediate bookings in Milton are available.


Barrett, P. M., Duffy, A. L., Dadds, M. R., & Rapee, R. M. (2001). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders in children: long-term (6-year) follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 69, 135-141.

Byng-Hall, J. (1995). Creating a Secure Family Base: Some Implications of Attachment Theory for Family Therapy. Family Process, Vol. 34, 45-58.

Parker, G., Parker, I., Brotchie, H., & Stuart, S. (2006). Interpersonal psychotherapy for depression? The need to define its ecological niche. Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 95, 1-11.