Year 7 - 12

BRAVE Self-Help Program for Young Children, Children and Teenagers

  • Overview

    Professor Sue Spence; Associate Professor Sonja March; Associate Professor Caroline Donovan
    Year level(s)
    K - 12
    Who is this for?
    Youth, Parents/Carers
    Who is this from?
    Mentally Healthy Communities, Family Partnerships, Early Support
    Early Learning, Primary School, Secondary School
    Emotional and behavioural difficulties, Seeking support, Families and parenting education

    BRAVE Self-Help is an interactive, online prevention and intervention program for youth anxiety. BRAVE teaches cognitive behavioural strategies to manage anxiety and worry, such as psychoeducation, relaxation, cognitive restructuring and graded exposure, through a 4 to 10 session program (depending on the age level). Each session builds on information and strategies learnt in the previous session, with the aim to help young people cope with anxiety in difficult situations. There are also parent sessions to assist parents to better manage their anxious child. The BRAVE for Young Children is completely parent-focused.

    The program is free to all young people (aged 3 to 17 years), and their parents, who are living in Australia. This was made possible with the support of beyondblue.
    Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania
    USQ Springfield, School of Psychology & Counselling, A309; Griffith University, School of Applied Psychology, Mt Gravatt Campus, M24_2.21.
    PO Box 4196, Springfield, QLD 4300; School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Messines Ridge Rd, Mt Gravatt, QLD, 4122
    Phone number
    07 3470 4354; 07 3735 3401
  • Implementation

    Detailed description

    The BRAVE Program is an online anxiety prevention and treatment program for Young Children, Children and Teenagers. The child and teen programs comprise 10 sessions, with 2 booster sessions to supplement learning at the end of the program. The BRAVE for Young Children program is 4 sessions and is parent-focused. Each session takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. The sessions are locked so that they only become available when the previous session has been completed. It is recommended that the sessions be completed 7 days apart, so that parents and youth can practice and implement new skills and strategies learnt in between sessions.

    Program structure & method delivery

    The teenage programs are comprised of 12 sessions: Quiz to assess learning. Future goals and relapse prevention strategies discussed. An Extreme Challenge homework task is also provided after every session and reviewed in the next session.


    The BRAVE Program for parents of teenagers comprises 5 sessions, with 2 booster sessions. Participation in the BRAVE program begins with a short online registration process, where students create an anonymous account. Youth under 16 years of age are required to obtain parental permission through a form in the online registration before they can register. The program is delivered entirely online, with users logging-on to complete sessions. There is a Resources tab where users can download and print worksheets and homework, a Relaxation Room where users can play relaxation music and other tools to compliment the program.


    The BRAVE for Young Children Program is comprised of 10 sessions.

    Student assessment measures


    Brief questions about current anxiety levels are included so that the program can determine whether a referral to external professionals is required. These questions are compulsory and completed during various sessions. Compulsory quiz questions are also incorporated throughout the program to consolidate learning.

    Professional learning compulsory


  • Evidence

    Identified theoretical framework

    BRAVE Self-Help is based on the framework of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT interventions for youth anxiety aim to address the central physiological, cognitive and behavioural features of anxiety disorders. CBT techniques used in the BRAVE program include Relaxation (Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Guided Imagery), Cognitive Techniques, such as cognitive restructuring (activating helpful thoughts, Identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts), exposure to anxiety provoking stimulus through encouraging hierarchical exposure (BRAVE Ladders) to reduce avoidance, problem-solving techniques to encourage consideration of alternative behavioural responses (instead of avoidance) and positive reinforcement (rewarding BRAVE behaviours).


    Spence, S. H., Holmes, J. M., March, S., ; Lipp, O. V. (2006). The feasibility and outcome of clinic plus Internet delivery of cognitive-behavior therapy for childhood anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(3), 614-621. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.74.3.614 Spence, S. H., Donovan, C. L., March, S., Gamble, A., Anderson, R. E., Prosser, S., ; Kenardy, J. (2011). A randomized controlled trial of online versus clinic-based CBT for adolescent anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(5), 629-642. doi: 10.1037/a0024512. 37. Donovan, C.L., and March, S. (2014). Online CBT for Preschool Anxiety Disorders: A Randomised Control Trial. Behavior Research and Therapy, 58, 24-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2014.05.001.
  • Authors


    Professor Sue Spence; Associate Professor Sonja March; Associate Professor Caroline Donovan

    About author(s)

    Professor Sue Spence: Professor Emeritus, School of Applied Psychology and Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University

    Associate Professor Sonja March: School of Psychology and Counselling, Innovative Mental Health Solutions Research Program, Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland

    Associate Professor Caroline Donovan: School of Applied Psychology, Menzies Health Institute, Griffith University