How Age Affects Treatment Planning With CBT for A Client



CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a collection of techniques, which have proven to treat physical and emotional problems among children, young people and aging adults. The intervention strategies work on the principle that the therapist determines the way a person perceives a certain situation and how one reacts to it. It is through such an assessment that they can make the appropriate recommendation (Stallard, 2014). The way a person feels about a particular situation is expressed by their emotions. It is important that the client and the therapist collaborate if they are to make the intervention strategies work. There is considerable evidence showing the effectiveness of the CBT strategies. They have been found to be very effective in dealing with depression. Other conditions, which can be treated with CBT, include obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorders. Despite their effectiveness in treating certain disorders, the treatment plan of the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is dependent on several factors. These factors include gender, class, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability and medical condition. The paper will look at age as a factor of treatment planning with CBT.

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A child is anyone who is 12 years and below. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques in children normally surround the problem of anxiety. Typically, when a child grows, one tends to think that the problem will go away when the child is grown. However, it is important that the parents understand and seek help when the problem begins to have serious interference with the life of the child. Anxiety has been known to get worse as a child grows up (Cuellar, 2015). The growth in anxiety level stems from the fact that avoidance causes a temporary relief in anxiety. Furthermore, as the family works towards triggering the fears of anxiety, they do not realize that it becomes worse over time. Administration of medication is one of the best ways of helping children suffering from anxiety. Children who suffer from anxiety can be tremendously helped through the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment intervention, which can help children reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety. As opposed to medical interventions, the cognitive behavioral therapy is a self-help technique, which has the power to leave the children capable of helping themselves. In children, the treatment planning should be because the way a child acts and thinks determines how s/he feels. In other words, changing a child’s undesirable and distorted behavior can help change his/her emotions. When a child is diagnosed with having anxiety disorders, the first intervention is the cognitive behavioral therapy. The main goal of the therapeutic technique is to deter any avoidant behaviors and habits. One technique within the CBT essential in treating children with anxiety concerns the exposure-and-response prevention.

The exposure-and-response prevention is based on the idea that children are typically exposed to factors, which trigger anxiety in a structured and safe setting. It is through the techniques and strategies that teach them how to deal with these triggers of anxiety that they can enable their anxiety to fade away. Exposure therapy of CBT differs from the conventional form since it has proven to be more effective at dealing with anxiety among children. The therapy is designed to enable the therapist determine the root cause of the problem.  The exposure therapy is essential in mitigating the fear factor associated with anxiety. The therapeutic technique is important in dealing with different kinds of anxiety including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), separation anxiety, social anxiety and phobias. For the children diagnosed with any form of anxiety disorder, the first step, which should be taken towards treatment planning entails, assists to the children as well as their parents (Cuellar, 2015). It is important that they understand that the anxiety affecting the child is something that is separating them from who they are. The best way to do so is by making them understand the disorder as a ‘bully in the brain’ concept. It is essential that the children give the bully a name. It is therefore, then that they should talk back to the bully. The therapeutic technique stems from the ability of the children to handle the perceived bully. The aim of the technique is to ensure that the children understand that they have the capability to control their anxiety as opposed to it controlling them. The therapy subjected to children is intended to make them understand the ways in which the anxiety disorders in affecting them. The understanding of the impact if the anxiety on their lives is essential in making them faces their fears. The success of the technique is dependent on them trusting the therapist and the international outlined in the CBT.


The adolescents are considered to be people between the ages 12 and 18. The adolescent period is considered the most challenging phases in human development. The phase faces challenges involving academic, intrapersonal and interpersonal challenges. Many of the adolescents face emotional disorders, which require them to seek medical intervention. Assistance needs to be provided to adolescents especially their coping skills as well as their life skills. There is an increasing need for awareness to be created concerning the psychological interventions needed to help the disorders suffered by the adolescents. It is essential that evidence-based therapies be performed to them to help with clarifying the effectiveness of these strategies. The evidence-based therapies are treatment interventions based on empirical research as well as surveys (Hicks, & Stein, 2015). The purpose of the evidences, which generated from these empirical research helps with specifying the impacts of the intervention on a particular problem. Psychological intervention in adolescents can be categorized into three types. They include preventive, therapeutic and focused intervention.  Some of the well-established therapeutic interventions for adolescents include functional family therapy, multisystem therapy, behavior modification, graduated exposure and exposure and response intervention. However, the psychological intervention primarily for adolescents poses a great challenge to the medical experts due to the nature of the problem. Furthermore, considering that their significant other such as parents, teachers and health professionals, refers the adolescents their participation in the decision making as well as participation makes it challenging.

When the children reach the adolescent age, the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to deal with problems of suicidality and depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective therapeutic techniques considering that it is problem focused as well as time-oriented form of therapy. The cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) describes a group of therapies, which deal with cognitive as well as behavioral problems. Depression is one of the primary reasons why adolescents seek cognitive behavioral therapy. In as much as there are many treatments for depression, the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has become widely accepted as a treatment option considering that it follows the psychotherapy approach (Hicks, & Stein, 2015). Adolescents suffering from depression have a tendency to have suicidal thoughts and behaviors. There is a continuing debate over the best techniques of dealing with such thoughts. It is essential that the therapists deal directly with these problems directly.  In addition to the treatment of cognitive and behavioral problems, the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used to treat chronic pain among adolescents. It is important that therapists take note of a child’s age to lead him/her into ensuring that they understand the particular stage of development at which s/he is in. it is essential that the whole therapeutic process is interesting if it is to be effective. The therapists should use cartoons, role-plays, use of appropriate language, use of worksheets and use of favorite superheroes. 

Young Adults

Similar to the adolescents, adults face an intense form of depression. The adult is the group of people who are 18 years and above. Some of the disorders prone to be found amongst the adults include Unipolar Major Depressive Disorder, Minor depression and Major Depressive Disorder. Like for adolescents, the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) designed for adults need to be goal-oriented, present focused and skill-based to target the behavioral patterns as well as the styles of thinking of the patients. The adult’s style of thinking is normally responsible for mood depression (Qualter, Vanhalst, Harris, Van Roekel, Lodder, Bangee, & Verhagen, 2015). The adults thinking style can be said to be self-focused, unrealistic, negative and hopeless. The therapist needs to have adequate cognitive skills if s/he is top proved help to an adult. The cognitive skills will help with the identification of the ‘thinking traps’ that the patient has committed to. The adults who suffer from depression have a tendency to show isolation, rejection of others, sensitivity to rejection and withdrawal, decreased activity as well as enjoyment. These experiences have a tendency to cause disruption in sleep cycles, loss of appetite, and increased suicidal thoughts. It is through the understanding of the behavioral defects among patients that experts can assist with behavioral interventions, which include behavioral activation, graded activation and problem solving. Treatments can be conducted on a group of people or a group of people.

The program for adults has goals, which include helping the clients distinguish between feelings and thoughts, become aware of their feelings and thoughts influence them in an undesirable way, determine the veracity their automatic assumptions and thoughts. The program should also help propose some skills to the patient, which might help him/her, intervene or interrupt automatic thoughts; it should also identify behavioral techniques to help with the identification of situation, which are known to trigger sadness as well as distress.  It should also emphasize on the use of behavioral activations to help with the reinforcement in their lives. To understand how the Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps a person, it is essential that one understand the activities involved with behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy (Qualter, Vanhalst, Harris, Van Roekel, Lodder, Bangee, & Verhagen, 2015). In the context of cognitive therapy, the main objective is to change a person perception of the issues, which prompts distress and sadness. Self-destructive feelings are a result of negative thought. For instance, a person who feels that he is unworthy of love as well as respect will find himself withdrawn from social situations. Cognitive therapy helps a person adopt healthier strategies challenging these negative thoughts. One of the most effective techniques of cognitive therapy entails asking a person to come up with evidence proving a claim such as he is unlovable. It entails instructing him to mention the family members as well as friends who do not love him. It is such evidence that the therapist can use to discredit his belief. This process is called ‘Cognitive restructuring.’ In the context of behavior therapy, it entails teaching an adult of the effective ways of altering his/her behavior. For instance, a person who behaves in a shy manner at parties tends to be engulfed with negative thought about themselves. The importance of the behavioral techniques is to teach the people helpful behaviors. For example, a person who is not very social is taught conversational skills which can be of help in social situations. The treatment of adults using the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) entail conducting assessments, personal education, goal setting, practice of strategies, and doing homework as recommended by the therapist.

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Aging Adults

The aging adults are those considered to be over the age of 65 and above. This group of people benefit primarily from the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) where recommendation involving their spiritual beliefs and physical health are made by the therapist. The aging adults in America constitute about 20 percent of the entire population. With such an immense population for the older adults, there is a need to address their cognitive and behavioral needs. It is also essential that a great deal of attention be given to them as they progress towards later life. However, there are several myths, which normally make up the beliefs of the older adults (Hicks, & Stein, 2015). The aging adults are normally under the assumption that they are prone to psychological problems when compared to the young adults. Furthermore, they assume that they are plagued with loneliness and sadness compared with their younger counterparts.  It is always assumed that the old people are likely to suffer from dementia due to abandonment by relatives. Not all these assertions and myths are true. It is through the understanding of these unsubstantiated claims that one can understand the kind of disorder that a person is suffering from. The vast majority of the aging adults are happy and satisfied with their lives. A recent study has shown that the aging adults have less fear over the thought of death as opposed to the adolescents and young adults. 

To help the aging adults with dealing with psychological issues, it is important that the therapist engage their cognitive as well as the behavioral issues. It is important that the old people understand that any disorders they might suffer from is independent of their age. However, the physical and social environment is what should be held accountable. Distress by the aging adults is typically a result of abandonment by children. In other words, longstanding difficulties and the absence of supportive relationships are the main contributors to their distress. It is essential that the therapist make them understand that the aging process is part of life. There are assessments, which can be made, and the appropriate intervention available whenever a problem arises. Older people are statistically less likely to seek treatment when compared to the young adults. Furthermore, when they seek treatment, they are more likely to seek for pharmaceutical interventions as opposed to behavioral. 

Barriers of Care to the Utilization of CBT

Despite existence of intervention against mental and behavioral disorders among children, adolescents, young adults and aging adults, there are several barriers of care that exist in the administration of medication. There are several barriers of treatment; they include lack of resources, stigma, lack of transportation, lack of clear communication and lack of public knowledge. These barriers affect the children, adolescents, young adults, and aging adults differently. Furthermore, they affect the people of all ages differently depending upon the nation where one is. In other words, in developing nations, it affects people differently than in developed nations. 

In children, the main barriers of treatment with CBT include insufficient funding and the negative impact on the current healthcare system in place. Insufficient funding is one of the main reasons for poor healthcare delivery (Blane, Williams, Morrison, Wilson, & Mercer, 2013). The issue of sufficient funding directly relates to the insufficient health care system in place. In as much as coming up with a new system comes with its own sets of challenges, it is important that the health care professionals come up with ways of modifying the existing system. All these barriers can be attributed collectively under lack of problem. Another barrier of care concerns the significant enrollment pediatric training program by experts. This brings about a lack in the number of personnel to deal with treatment issues in children.

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In adolescents, lack of resources is one of the main barriers affecting the people of this age. The adolescents mainly have to cope with emotional problems considering that they are at a stage where their bodies are full of hormones (Arroll, & Moir, 2010). The changes associated with adolescents’ demand that special attention is paid to their needs. To cope with a large population of adolescents, it is essential that the health care industry have enough skilled personnel to offload the work. However, with the decline in the number of people enrolling for the health care program, one can understand why it is a barrier for treatment with CBT.

In young adults, one barrier of care suffered by this group concerns stigma and lack of clear communication. Stigma is not a well-documented barrier of care concerning that few cases is reported. The young people who suffer from mental and emotional disorders tend to be stigmatized. Young people especially those who have families tend to be affected by stress (Arroll, & Moir, 2010). It is difficult for them to seek medical help considering that many of them find it difficult to communicate clearly about the issues affecting them. It is through the lack of clear communication that leads to a lack in the knowledge over the origin of the depression in young adults.

In aging adults, a barrier of care concerns the lack of transport. Many people of old age prefer to go and live in the rural areas. At times, it can be difficult to reach them considering that the topographical region where they reside can pose a problem (Blane, Williams, Morrison, Wilson, & Mercer, 2013). The depression and anxiety suffered by the aging adults mainly stems from the myths associated with isolation and the impacts of old age. The other barrier concerns a lack of knowledge. The aging old might think that their predicaments come from the isolation from their children. However, the knowledge that the isolation has nothing to do with it can help them deal with some of the anxiety issues.

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To sum up, the paper has provided the different ages of people at different stages and its impact of CBT treatment planning. The cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been known to treat a wide variety of disorders. The interventions differ based on the problems of children, adolescents, young adults and aging adults. No group that experiences more disorders than the other does. The CBT treatment has been known to treat anxiety disorder including post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, sleeping difficulties, and anger management (Stallard, 2014). All these are problems encountered by people at different stages. The intervention strategies work on the principle that the therapist determines the way a person perceives a certain situation and how one reacts to it. After the therapist understand the impact a disorder can have on one‘s life, s/he can make the necessary recommendations on the necessary changes. Evidence shows that different problems differ depending on the age of the person. In children, suffer from anxiety disorders, adolescents suffer from emotional disorders, the young adults as well as the adults suffer from depression. The age plays an important role in determining the appropriate intervention. The paper leaves room for more information to be provided concerning the factors such as includes gender, class, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability and medical condition and, how they affect the treatment planning with CBT.

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  4. Hicks, L., & Stein, M. (2015). Understanding and working with adolescent neglect: perspectives from research, young people and professionals. Child & Family Social Work, 20(2), 223-233.
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  6. Stallard, P. (2014). Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. The Handbook of Counselling Children & Young People, 49.
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