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Coping Cat


Coping Cat is an outpatient cognitive behavioral therapy program that assists children suffering from anxiety disorders.

"The Coping Cat program is an outpatient-program that uses a cognitive behavioral therapy approach. It assists children suffering from anxiety disorders by teaching children how to (1) recognize anxious feelings and physical reactions;(2) clarify cognitions in anxiety-provoking situations;(3) develop plans to help cope with these situations;and (4) evaluate their performance and administer self-reinforcement as appropriate. Therapists use behavioral training techniques such as real-life situation modeling, role-playing, relaxation training, and contingent reinforcement. Therapists also assign homework tasks to reinforce the skills learned in the sessions.

"Coping Cat consists of 16 sessions. The first eight are training sessions that introduce, practice, and reinforce the basic concepts of the treatment. The remaining sessions allow children to further practice the new skills in both imaginary and real-life situations."

A web search does not reveal examples of adaptations of Coping Cat by Tribal communities, though researchers are investigating adapting the program for younger youth, adolescents, and youth with secondary comorbidities.

Retrieved from


Child Trends ( summarizes the findings of two publications evaluating Coping Cat as follows:

“Results indicated that children in the treatment group had significantly lower levels of self-reported and parent-reported depression and anxiety at posttest than children in the control group. However, therapist reports of children’s anxiety at posttest did not differ between the treatment and control groups. Given the wait-list control design, by the one-year follow-up children in the control group had participated in Coping Cats [sic]. Therefore, treatment and control comparisons cannot be made. Nevertheless, at the one-year follow-up assessment, the positive impacts of Coping Cats [sic] were maintained for the 36 children available to participate in the follow-up study.”

The publications are:

Kendall, P.C. (1994). Treating anxiety disorders in children:  Results of a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 100-110.

Kendall, P.C. & Southam-Gerow, M. (1996). Long-term follow up of a cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety-disordered youth. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(4), 724-730.

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare rates this program as "1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence" on its Scientific Rating Scale, based on the published, peer-reviewed research available.

Promising, not adapted
Mental health problems
Self-regulation skills
Increasing coping skills