Cool Kids (Family Version)

Placement on the Continuum of Evidence Effective-RCT Download icon Download PDF
Target Population: 
Adolescents, Families, Children
Anxiety, Behavioral Problems, Emotional Competency, Parenting, Social Competency
Target Audience 

This program is for families with children who are 7 to 17 years old and have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or have reported symptoms of anxiety.


Cool Kids (Family Version), a family- and community-based, group-treatment program, is designed to help parents recognize and manage their child’s anxiety issues and help youth cope with their own anxiety.


Results from an internal, randomized control trial found that children in the program reported lower levels of fear and anxiety, and mothers and fathers in the program reported lower levels of child internalizing behaviors.  All effects were maintained at the 12-month follow-up except for child anxiety levels.  However, results suggest that with a larger sample, this effect may have reached significance.  Results from an external evaluation of the Danish version of the program indicated that positive effects on anxiety diagnoses and anxiety symptoms were found at posttest and at the 3- and 12-month follow-ups.  


In this program, parents and children learn how to identify emotion and anxiety, engage in realistic thinking, implement strategies to manage anxiety, identify cues that induce fear, and use suitable social skills.  Families meet in groups, and parents and children receive information on anxiety and formal cognitive restructuring.  To utilize the information, children complete homework activities that are monitored by parents, and parents are taught strategies that assist with handling anxiety-related behaviors.  Sessions cover the following topics:

  • Explore feelings and anxiety;
  • Adjust thinking to reason more realistically;
  • How parents can help their children;
  • Overcome fear by facing fear;
  • Strengthen problem-solving skills; and
  • Develop assertiveness and manage teasing.

At the beginning of each session, parents and children meet with program therapists to review and discuss the homework activity assigned during the previous session.  Next, parents and children individually meet with therapists to review the topic for the current session.  Then, the parents and children meet as a group to discuss the homework activity assigned for the next session.

Previous Use 

This program has been implemented since 1993.


Cool Kids must be facilitated by a psychologist or school counselor.  The Centre for Emotional Health provides a mandatory, 1-day, on- or off-site training or a 12 module online training to individuals who wish to implement this program.  Training and accreditation costs $600.  Please contact for more information.


Considerations for implementing this program include recruiting and retaining qualified facilitators (i.e., therapists and school counselors) who have experience working with children and adolescents from a cognitive behavioral perspective, ensuring facilitators receive training, acquiring parent and child buy-in, and locating program space.

The Clearinghouse can help address these considerations. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


If you are interested in implementing Cool Kids (Family Version), the Clearinghouse is interested in helping you!
Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


Parents and children attend 10-weekly, 2-hour sessions.


To implement this program, the facilitator will need the Cool Kids Program Kit, which costs $65 and includes a Child & Adolescent Therapist Manual, one parent workbook, and one child workbook.  Each participant will need his or her own workbook, and additional parent and child workbooks can be purchased online.  Please visit

Evaluation Plan 

The Clearinghouse can help you develop an evaluation plan to ensure the program components are meeting your goals. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


Contact the Clearinghouse with any questions regarding this program.
Phone: 1-877-382-9185 Email:

You may also contact the Centre for Emotional Health by mail Building C3A, Level 7, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia, phone (02) 9850 8711, email, or visit

References - Used For Placement 

Arendt, K., Thastum, M., & Hougaard, E. (2015). Efficacy of a Danish version of the Cool Kids program: A randomized wait-list controlled trial. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 133, 109-121.

Hudson, J. L., Rapee, R. M., Deveney, C., Schniering, C. A., Lyneham, H. J., & Bovopoulos, N. (2009).  Cognitive-behavioral treatment versus an active control for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders:  A randomized trial.  Journal of American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry, 48, 533- 544.

Rapee, R. M. (2000).  Group treatment of children with anxiety disorders:  Outcome and predictors of treatment response.  Australian Journal of Psychology, 52, 125-129.

Rapee, R. M. (2003).  The influence of comorbidity on treatment outcome for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41, 105-112.

Rapee, R. M., Abbott, M. J., & Lyneham, H. J. (2006).  Bibliotherapy for children with anxiety disorders using written materials for parents:  A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 436-444.

*Resources and associated costs reflect those identified at the time of fact sheet publication.