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30-08-2016 | Uitgave 4/2016

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 4/2016

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Children and Adolescents: Can Attachment Theory Contribute to Its Efficacy?

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 4/2016
Guy Bosmans


Meta-analyses consistently demonstrate that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) provides effective evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with emotional and behaviour problems. Also consistent across meta-analyses is the observation that CBT treatment effects are often medium in size. This observation has instigated a search for factors that could help explain the limited treatment effects and that could be focused upon to enhance CBT treatment outcomes. The current qualitative review focuses on the parent–child attachment relationship as one factor that could be relevant to enhance CBT treatment effects. This review first acknowledges reasons why CBT has historically not been attracted to attachment theory and its postulates. Second, recent evidence is examined to evaluate whether attachment can be approached from a cognitive schema perspective. Subsequently, research is described showing how restoring attachment relationships could result in large treatment effects. Finally, this evidence is integrated in a model of attachment assessment and intervention that might be compatible with CBT. In sum, this review suggests that restoring trust in insecure parent–child attachment relationships can be integrated within CBT and could contribute to its treatment outcomes.

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