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Unread August 31st, 2010, 09:36 AM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 283
Default Re: CBT and teaching/education?

Cognitive behavioral principles certainly are relevant to education and can be incorporated into many courses. However, it is important to think about the goals of education. Much of the work that has been done on CBT has been focused on treating clinical problems. Do we want our schools to be treating anxiety and depression or do we want our schools to teach history and math and have the mental health system treat anxiety and depression?

Quite a bit of research has been done on programs to prevent depression, anxiety, and other problems. Many of these programs have been tested in school settings or could be incorporated into school settings. Do we want our schools to be working to prevent an assortment or mental health problems or do we want them to focus on preparing kids for college and work?

Some CBT research has focused on building strengths (optimism, resilience, self-esteem, etc.) rather than on overcoming problems. These programs also can easily be incorporated into educational settings but is this how we want our schools to be using their time?

I'm inclined to think that trying to provide every child with a decent education is a big enough challenge for classroom teachers. I'm not sure it makes sense for teachers to be trying to treat or prevent mental health problems. It does make sense for each school to have school psychologists, social workers, and/or counselors who address mental health issues is the school setting to some extent. However, it probably makes sense to refer students who need extended treatment, preventive services, or strength-building to other community resources rather than trying to do all this within the school system.
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