Cognitive Behavioural Training presents a straightforward framework that links behaviour to thinking. It supports individuals, of all ages, to move from habitually doing and reacting in the same old ways to thinking about what they are doing and incorporating new, more productive behaviours. CBT sustains the adoption of new habits, new routines and new ways of thinking. It encourages the growth of self-awareness, goal-setting, emotional resilience, perseverance and motivation. For a number of children and teens, the link between feelings, choice and outcome must be taught explicitly, and may prove to be the greatest gift we can hand to them.
Students, struggling to acquire metacognitive thinking are far more dependent on hearing the right questions to stimulate their internal awareness. They require specific practice prior to commencing tasks, during tasks and at the completion of tasks. Critical reflective questions that invite thought might be:
When is it best to begin Cognitive Behavioural Training with children?
Think of CBT as drown-proofing children by stimulating their thinking. It's never too early. In fact, the earlier the system is established and followed, the greater the benefits that are achieved. Even quite young children demonstrate a modest capacity to think and reflect about themselves.
By the time children reach middle primary there is usually a significant development in their formal reasoning and self-awareness. Consequently, encouraging them to reflect critically on how they think and what they do has real strategic value around this time. Middle primary is a significant transitional period as the links between thinking about their behaviour and likely outcomes are naturally accentuated. As these links are strengthened, the tendency to exclusively blame others begins to diminish. Scope emerges to guide children to understand their natural thinking style. This period provides an exciting time for children to learn more about themselves. It opens precious moments for them to self-evaluate, to wrestle with social and behavioural issues and to work on simple strategies to overcome them. The ability to understand and control their thinking places them in a position to understand what they are doing, why they are doing it and what they really want. Without this, they are learners without direction, without the ability to review their progress or set their future.
Cognitive Behavioural Training delivers a design to all students, young and older, to think and reshape their thinking. It provides a platform for educators and parents alike to teach thinking. This makes CBT is a profound modifier of behaviour because engaging children to think, engaging anyone to think, is what transforms behaviour and sets up successful, resilient lives.