Coping Cat

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Coping Cat is a CBT manualized and comprehensive treatment program for children from 7 to 13 years old with separation anxiety disorder, related anxiety disorders, and/or social phobia.[1] It was designed by Philip Kendall and colleagues at the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University.[2] A related program called C.A.T. is aimed at adolescents, while the focus of Coping Cat is usually on older children.[2] A group version of Coping Cat has also been designed to work with 4 to 5 children together.[3]

The goals of the treatment are three-fold:

  • the child learns to recognize, experience, and cope with anxiety
  • the child learns to reduce his/her level of anxiety
  • the child learns to master developmentally appropriate, challenging, and difficult tasks[4]


In 16 individual or group therapy sessions over 16 weeks lasting for 50–60 minutes, helped by a workbook whose exercises parallel therapy sessions to aid involvement and skill acquisition. Also done in 6 computer-guided and 6 therapist-guided sessions over 12 weeks using Camp Cope-A-Lot: The Coping Cat CD-Rom.[5] There are two parent sessions, and each may be scheduled for the same day as an adjacent child-focused session.

The therapist and youth together create a personalized FEAR plan to use in anxiety-provoking situations. FEAR stands for Feeling frightened?; Expecting bad things to happen?; Actions and attitudes that can help?; Results and rewards.

Children are also given homework, referred to as a STIC (Show That I Can) task.[6]


Coping Cat is a "probably efficacious" intervention for treating SAD as well as other anxiety related disorders and social phobia.[7] Initial support for this protocol comes from two randomized clinical trials in 1994.[8]

International versions[edit]

The modified Australian "Coping Koala" version has also been used with children exhibiting anxiety symptoms who did not meet criteria for a diagnosed anxiety disorder. The program reduced the likelihood of children developing an anxiety disorder 6 months post-treatment.[4]

Camp Cope-A-Lot is an online computer-based program based on Coping Cat developed by the authors of the Coping Cat program. Camp Cope-A-Lot is designed to be used by school and mental health professionals in working with children 7-13 struggling with anxiety. All of the Coping Cat manuals and workbooks and the Camp Cope-A-Lot program can be found at is a free informational website with evidence based resources and tools for parents of anxious youth.

Child Anxiety Tales is an online parent-training program based on the cognitive-behavioral principles from the Coping Cat program. The program can be found at

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cynthia Franklin; Mary Beth Harris; Paula Allen-Meares (31 January 2013). The School Services Sourcebook, Second Edition: A Guide for School-Based Professionals. Oxford University Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-19-986175-0. 
  2. ^ a b Kenneth W. Merrell (1 January 2008). Helping Students Overcome Depression and Anxiety: A Practical Guide. Guilford Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-59385-648-9. 
  3. ^ Gayle L. Macklem (31 December 2010). Evidence-Based School Mental Health Services: Affect Education, Emotion Regulation Training, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Springer. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-1-4419-7907-0. 
  4. ^ a b Tracy L. Morris; John S. March (MD.) (January 2004). Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents. Guilford Press. p. 313. ISBN 978-1-57230-981-4. 
  5. ^ I. Marks; Lucio Sibilia (2010). Isaac Marks; Stefania Borgo, eds. Common Language for Psychotherapy Procedures. BoD – Books on Demand. p. 48. ISBN 978-88-86290-02-9. 
  6. ^ Eva Szigethy; John R. Weisz; Robert L. Findling (1 January 2012). Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Children and Adolescents. American Psychiatric Pub. p. 231. ISBN 978-1-58562-406-5. 
  7. ^ Richard J. Morris; Nancy Mather (29 November 2007). Evidence-Based Interventions for Students with Learning and Behavioral Challenges. Routledge. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-203-93854-6. 
  8. ^ Diane T. Marsh; Mary A. Fristad (6 November 2002). Handbook of Serious Emotional Disturbance in Children and Adolescents. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 217–. ISBN 978-0-471-33139-1.