The role of CBT in the treatment of eating disorders in children and adolescents
When young people develop a behavioural or emotional disorder, it is assumed that their cognitive beliefs or problem-solving capacities are impaired, or that they lack the appropriate behavioural repertoires to address their diﬃculties. Cognitive diﬃculties may reﬂect deﬁciencies or distortions in thought processes. In the ﬁeld of adolescent mental health, it is often assumed to be cognitive distortions that create problems, reﬂecting as they do, irrational or ﬂawed attitudes and beliefs. In obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), for example, these beliefs may focus on the need to engage in rituals because of notions about the consequences of doing or not performing them. Unwelcome cognitive thoughts or images are triggered by negative experience, particularly of a harmful or contaminating nature. Automatic thoughts are generated that enhance feelings of guilt and
encourage phobic avoidance of trigger situations. Compulsive thoughts or ritualised behaviours are then utilised to neutralise the automatic thoughts and are reinforced by anxiety reduction.