Child Anxiety Program
How We Work
We often have a waiting list for children and families seeking treatment at the Child Anxiety Program. Please call the clinic to have your name placed on the list. When your name reaches the top of our waiting list, a therapist will contact you to discuss general details about the Child Anxiety Program and to schedule an intake interview. This interview will be conducted separately with parents and children 7 and older. Typically, we do not interview children younger than 7. We conduct parent and child interviews concurrently to make efficient use of your time. Interviews usually run about 2 hours.
The intake interview serves three main purposes:
- Since we are a specialty program for the treatment of child anxiety, we want to be sure that the difficulties that your child is having are primarily due to anxiety. If your child is having anxiety that is secondary to another difficulty, we may not be the best place for your child. In this case, we will provide you with referrals for treatment more appropriate to your child’s needs.
- This interview gives you a chance to learn about our program and the type of treatment that your child would receive in our program.
- Most importantly, the interview gives us detailed information about the specifics of your child’s anxiety. We use this information to individualize the treatment we provide to your child. The more we can target your child’s specific fears and worries, the more successful your child will be in our treatment program.
Once you have scheduled an intake interview, we will mail you a packet of forms to be completed by both parents (if possible) and your child prior to the intake interview. These forms provide us with additional information about your child, helping us to further individualize your child’s treatment. We ask that you bring the packet of completed forms to your intake interview.
After the intake interview, the therapist will contact you within two weeks to provide feedback, schedule your child’s first session, or make an appropriate referral.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used in treatment with all children and families in order to teach them skills to then cope with anxious situations. CBT is a treatment method often used to treat mood disorders and anxiety disorders. CBT is based on the belief that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, and they are not caused by external factors (such as people, situations, and events). Patients learn to monitor their thoughts and behaviors related to negative emotions and are taught to replace them with more positive thoughts. The benefit to this treatment is that individuals are able to change the way they think to feel better even if the situation does not change. If the individual is diagnosed with a specific phobia, CBT is especially useful because therapists are able to bring gradual exposure to the feared stimulus into sessions to help the individual overcome their fear. By doing this, the individual is able to change their thought pattern and see that the feared stimulus can be overcome. CBT has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety in individuals with anxiety and mood disorders. If at any time during treatment it becomes clear that your child’s primary problem is not anxiety, we will provide you with referrals in order to help you and your child receive the best treatment possible for your particular situation.
Treatment typically involves an average of 16 sessions over a 20 week period of time. During the first half of treatment, we teach your child the skills that he/she needs to be able to cope with his/her fear or anxiety. During the second half of treatment, we help your child to use the skills that he/she learned during the first half of therapy. We will have your child go through a series of exposures (“adventures,” “challenges”) where he/she is placed in an anxiety provoking situation and coached on how to use the skills learned during the first half of treatment. Don’t worry, we start very small and work our way up slowly, until your child is able to cope with the most anxiety-provoking situation for him/her.
Confidentiality and Its Limits
Confidentiality means that any information that you or your child shares with a therapist during the course of treatment will not be shared with others. This helps to promote a trusting relationship between you, your child, and your child’s therapist. However, there are important exceptions to confidentiality, namely when it conflicts with the therapist’s duty to warn or duty to protect others. If your child reports suicidal or homicidal ideation, or if your child reveals that he/she is being abused, then the therapist is legally bound to report this information.
Please feel free to discuss every element of your child’s therapy with him/her, including what occurs in sessions. In order to facilitate the development of rapport with your child and to encourage open disclosure of information regarding fears and worries, we do not present parents with a “playback” of everything that was said during therapy sessions with your child. We assure you that if your child reports any information to us that we believe is in a parent’s best interest to know, we will pass that information along to you. Legally, parents are privy to all information pertaining to their child’s treatment. If you have any questions for the therapist or Director of the Child Anxiety Program, please call us. We like to keep the lines of communication open.
Every client must pay a $30 intake fee.
Every client must pay a $25 materials fee, collected at the first session, to cover the cost of the therapy materials that your child will be using throughout his/her treatment.
We offer a sliding scale fee schedule to best meet the needs of the families with whom we work.