Training in behavioural therapy

The training imparts to the trainees in particular the knowledge, skills and abilities required to be able to act independently and on their own responsibility in the diagnosis, therapy and rehabilitation of disorders with disease value for which psychotherapy is indicated, and in the therapy of psychological causes, concomitants and consequences of physical illnesses, taking into account the findings of the doctor on the physical status and the social situation of the patient on the scientific, intellectual and ethical basis of psychotherapy.

A child and adolescent psychotherapist (abbreviated to “KJP”) diagnoses and treats mental disorders in children, adolescents and young people up to the age of 21. Adults do not fall within his or her area of responsibility. A central task of child and adolescent psychotherapists is the treatment of children and adolescents with mental illnesses or physical illnesses caused by mental illnesses through psychotherapy as well as the accompanying psychotherapy of the persons in the relationship.

Behavioural therapy is based on the assumption that behavioural patterns (including thoughts, feelings, bodily reactions and motor behaviour) are learned in the course of life history in the interaction between the individual and the environment. Certain behavioural patterns are formed. These behaviour patterns can be experienced as helpful/functional or as unhelpful/dysfunctional. People are differently susceptible to developing a mental illness due to their genetic, physical and social make-up. Stress factors (e.g. change to a secondary school, separation of parents) can trigger a mental disorder against this background. Other factors, so-called protective factors (also called protective factors, e.g. good cognitive performance, supportive social environment, good problem-solving skills), can also make people resilient and reduce the likelihood of mental illness occurring.

In behavioural therapy, an individual explanation and maintenance model for the mental illness is first developed, patients are informed about the mental illness (psychoeducation), and goals for treatment are derived. The entire frame of reference is taken into account (e.g. what influence does the behaviour of the mother/father/teachers have on the development and maintenance of the child’s problem? What goals for change can be set for the mother/father/teacher that will support a desired change in the child/adolescent?). In the work with children and adolescents, these steps are gone through with the caregivers and developmentally with the child/adolescent. Younger children are given information about a clinical picture and effective interventions, e.g. by means of picture books. When determining an explanatory and maintenance model and the therapy goals, the therapist behaves much more directly than he would with adults, as children and sometimes also adolescents are only capable of this to a limited extent. Depending on the disorder and the resources of the child/adolescent, specific interventions are then assigned to the therapy goals. Basically, behavioural therapy is about making the patient/caregivers aware of dysfunctional behavioural and interactional patterns, understanding their origin and function and replacing them with more functional behavioural and interactional patterns. Behavioural patterns (skills, functional thoughts, functional feelings, functional body reactions) are practised and tried out in everyday life.

In behavioural therapy with children and adolescents, numerous evaluated treatment manuals can be used, which are either disorder-oriented (e.g. treatment of depression, of anxiety) or skill-oriented (e.g. training of self-confident behaviour). Creative methods, worksheets, picture books, behavioural experiments, role plays are used in the work with children and adolescents.

The training is offered in German. Detailed information is available on our German page.