Evidence suggests that young people find it hard to overcome their difficulties with mood when engaging in therapy that focuses on challenging and changing their negative thoughts into positive thoughts and that a more productive way of overcoming low mood is to focus on behaviour.
As an alternative approach to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Behavioural Activation (BA) is an evidence based intervention that focus on behaviour rather than thoughts. It starts by addressing the young persons values and things that matter to them in order to identify achievable goals. Put simply, it’s to get one to become active and engage in positive behaviours to improve mood and their outlook on life.
When treating young people with BA, I also like to incorporate some Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as this complements BA well. ACT encourages clients to acceptance what they can’t change and instead focus on what they can change whilst teaching skills to become more aware of present moment.