Cognitive Therapy with Children, Adolescents and Families


Two lines of research are currently underway evaluating CT for youth and families. First, a study of training and implementation of CT for young people and families is in progress in the Philadelphia community mental health network. Second, a treatment development study of Dyadic Cognitive Therapy is in the process of collecting pilot data to evaluate an innovative approach to treating adolescents with depression and suicidal ideation.

Current Initiatives

Dyadic Cognitive Therapy: A research study is underway focused on the development of Dyadic Cognitive Therapy (Dyadic CT) for depressed adolescents and their mothers. The goal of the current work is to develop the treatment manual, training materials, measures of competence and fidelity, and pilot the feasibility of training community mental health therapists in the intervention. Planned future directions are to test Dyadic CT in a randomized clinical trial, and further, refine the mechanisms of change. The Dyadic CT manual consists of five overarching tasks rather than session-by-session content, providing a roadmap to intervention that allows the therapist to collaboratively and flexibly structure treatment. This manual will be used to train therapists in a Philadelphia area community mental health center in the model to examine the feasibility of training and implementation of Dyadic CT.

Broad Project Goals

  • Develop a detailed treatment manual for Dyadic CT and related measures
  • Demonstrate feasibility of the study design
  • Evaluate outcomes of training community mental health therapists in Dyadic CT
  • Evaluate results of Dyadic CT pilot study

Training and implementation of CT for youth and families in community mental health: Since 2007, the Beck Initiative has been a collaborative partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities to disseminate and implement Cognitive Therapy across a broad spectrum of setting, populations, and presenting problems. As of 2013, we have joined with 12 child agencies including outpatient, residential treatment facilities, and school-based services to train therapists in the implementation of CT for children, adolescents, and their families. Data are being collected to evaluate training effectiveness and the impact of that training on clients, therapists, community mental health agencies and networks.

Please click the link for more information about receiving Training in Cognitive Therapy or for information about the Beck Initiative dissemination and implementation program.

Selected Publications

  1. Creed, T., Jager-Hyman, S., Pontoski, K., Rosenberg, Z., Evans, A.C., Hurford, M., & Beck, A. T. (in press). The Beck Initiative: A strength-based approach to training school-based mental health staff in cognitive therapy. International Journal of Emotional Education.
  2. Creed, T.A. (2012) Explaining the Cognitive Model in Child-Friendly Language: The Rollercoaster Story. Cognitive Therapy Today, 17, 4-8.
  3. Creed, T., Reisweber, J., & Beck, A.T. (2011). Cognitive therapy for adolescents in school settings. New York: Guildford Press.
  4. Wiltsey Stirman, S., Bhar, S., Spokas, M., Brown, G., Creed, T.A., Perivoliotis, D., Farabaugh, D., Grant, P., & Beck, A.T. (2010). Training and consultation in evidence based psychosocial treatments in public mental health settings: The ACCESS model. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41, 48-56.
  5. Creed, T.A. & Kendall, P.C. (2005). Empirically supported therapist relationship-building behavior within a cognitive–behavioral treatment for anxiety in youth. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 498-505.