As David and Shona stood by the side of the road warm sunlight streamed over the caramel coloured bags that lay scattered all around them.  Travel labels for Osaka, Witchita, Galapagos and other exotic places fluttered lightly in a gentle warm breeze.  David wondered how he would manage to carry so much on his own...

CBT Workbook for Children & Adolescents 

Dr Gary O’ Reilly, Deputy Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology at UCD, has written a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programme for young people.

It can be requested free of charge by clinics or qualified professionals working with young people by contacting Juvenile Mental Health Matters.  It is designed to teach CBT skills to young people in a user-friendly and humorous way.     

The current format of the programme consists of the following: 

  1. Bullet A CBT workbook - A Young Person’s Guide to Thinking Straight - designed for use in a therapeutic context.  This is currently available for free worldwide.  

  1. Bullet A computer game - David Natenbourogh’s Island (by Dr Gary O’ Reilly, Dr David Coyle and Dr Nicola McGlade) - is a 6 session computerised CBT intervention played by young people aged 9-13 with their therapist. The computer game is currently available for free to qualified mental health professionals in the Republic of Ireland. 

The CBT programme is designed to allow young people to:

- learn new ways of understanding themselves better,

- learn how to relate to important people in their lives differently,

- learn new skills for understanding their emotions,

- learn new ways of thinking about things,

- and learn new behaviours. 

All of these are part of effective psychological interventions for over-coming emotional and behavioural difficulties.  

A CBT Workbook for Children and Adolescents is a collection of worksheets to help children and young teenagers develop skills to help them manage a wide range of emotional and behavioural problems.  They are intended for use by psychologists, social workers, child care workers, child psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to assist them in their routine clinical practice. 

The basic idea is to develop and provide a freely available resource for clinical work that (a) facilitates the discussion of life experiences, self-perception, family relationships and (b) supports skill development in areas such as expressing how you feel, recognising and changing distorted thinking, managing anger, problem solving, planning good times, and relaxation.  The workbook can be applied to a range of different problems that children present with in clinical settings  In using it with young people, workers can dip in and out selecting the specific parts that are relevant for their clients.  Each time professionals wish to use the materials they can simply print out a good quality fresh copy of the relevant worksheets. 

Fundamental to the approach is a positive and humorous outlook supported by colourful and interesting worksheets.  Consequently there are characters such David NAT’enborough who teaches you about strange creatures called gNATs or Negative Automatic Thoughts and how to swat them.  A blues band (Sonny Skye Blues and The C of Tranquillity) who turn red hot anger into cool blue.  Problem solving with Einstein and his mate Duffy the Vampire Mayor.  Meet the family with a mafia godfather.  Life-story telling as it might be suggested by James Joyce and Homer.  And two figures - Socks Blunder and Harmony Sounds - who teach communication skills while searching for extra-terrestrial life… 

The current components of the programme are: 

David Natenbourough & the Search for the Inter-Galactic Space Moose.  Written by Gary O’ Reilly & Illustration by Laura de Burca.

CBT Workbook More Info...

Simply e-mail Gary to request free use of the programme 

About Me   

Worksheets where the young person describes how they see themselves 

My Family 

A mafia boss introduces you to his family and as a mark of respect the young person introduces his family and thinks about relationships and feelings in family life 

The Story of My Life 

Reflect on your life story 

Expressing How I Feel  

The cyclops Ivan Eymann teaches you how to use I statements to express your feelings 

My Behaviour   

Take Dr Watson’s challenge to make positive changes to your behaviour 

David Natenbourough & the Search for the Inter-Galactic Space Moose 

A funny story for young and old to enjoy  

Thinking Straight  

The characters from David Natenbourough & the Search for the Intergalactic Space Moose teach core CBT skills 

David gNATenbourough’s  Island (by Gary O‘ Reilly, David Coyle & Nicola McGlade)  

A computer game for PC played in-session by a young person with their therapist delivering a CBT intervention.  Available for free to qualified mental health professionals in the Republic of Ireland. 

Communication Skills  

Socks Blunder & Harmony Sounds teach communication skills while looking for extra-terrestrial life!  

Good Times   

The young person plans activities to give them positive experiences and a sense of mastery    

Learning How to Relax   

Learn a progressive muscle relaxation  technique 

Learning How to Rethink Angry Feelings 

Blues musician Sonny Skie Blues & his band The C of Tranquility explain how to turn red hot anger into a cool blue 

Problem Solving     

Learn how to solve problems with Albert Einstein & Duffy the Vampire Mayor