Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adolescent Depression Intervention Summary

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Adolescent Depression is a developmental adaptation of the classic cognitive therapy model developed by Aaron Beck and colleagues. CBT emphasizes collaborative empiricism, the importance of socializing patients to the cognitive therapy model, and the monitoring and modification of automatic thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs. To adapt CBT for adolescents, more emphasis is placed on (1) the use of concrete examples to illustrate points, (2) education about the nature of psychotherapy and socialization to the treatment model, (3) active exploration autonomy and trust issues, (4) focus on cognitive distortions and affective shifts that occur during sessions, and (5) acquisition of problem-solving, affect-regulation, and social skills. As teens frequently do not complete detailed thought logs, internal experiences such as monitoring cognitions associated with in-session affective shifts are used to illustrate the cognitive model. To match the more concrete cognitive style of younger adolescents, therapists summarize session content frequently. Abstraction is kept to a minimum, and concrete examples linked to personal experience are used when possible. The treatment program is delivered in 12 to 16 weekly sessions.

Descriptive Information


Areas of Interest Mental health treatment
Outcomes Review Date: November 2006
1: Diagnoses of major depressive disorder
2: Symptoms of depression
3: Achievement of clinical response
4: Achievement of remission
Outcome Categories Mental health
Ages 13-17 (Adolescent)
18-25 (Young adult)
Genders Male
Races/Ethnicities White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings Outpatient
Geographic Locations No geographic locations were identified by the developer.
Implementation History CBT for Adolescent Depression has been delivered as part of a comprehensive treatment program at the Services for Teens At Risk (STAR-Center), a research, treatment, and training center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for approximately 10 years. CBT has been evaluated and implemented in a multisite study in England.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories IOM prevention categories are not applicable.