Rapid emotional change strategies: Enhancing youth responsiveness to cognitive-behavioral therapy

John Sommers-Flanagan, Rita Sommers-Flanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Therapy with children and adolescents can be difficult because of poor client motivation and limited cooperation with treatment procedures. This article hypothesizes that youth are frequently uncooperative with therapy due to their negative mood state. Consequently, if therapists focus on changing the client's mood prior to engaging in therapeutic interventions, receptivity to cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques might be enhanced. Several rapid emotional change techniques designed to enhance youth cooperation with therapy are described. These include: (a) the three step push button emotional change technique; (b) passing notes; (c) are wrestling; (d) the hand pushing game; and (e) using internal jokes. It is recommended that these techniques be used to facilitate the therapeutic alliance, heighten interest in therapeutic procedures, demonstrate and teach emotional self-management skills, and improve overall cooperation with treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Family Behavior Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 9 1996


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