Treating Anxiety Disorders in Children & Adolescents

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and are frequently misinterpreted as behavior problems. Participants will learn how to apply effective cognitive and behavioral skills, structured around a universal treatment strategy. This prescriptive approach identifies and matches specific client characteristics with the most compatible interventions. We will orient around the themes of modifying resistance, habituation, long-term belief change, pattern disruption and securing the family system. The day will be divided into two sets of tasks: those for the therapist and those for the client. Therapist tasks will include a getting-to-work partnership, curiosity, finding hooks, homework and enlisting parents. Client tasks will include self-monitoring, personifying the anxiety, challenging worry content, tolerating distress and doubt, letting go of safety crutches, playing with anxiety, taking on the bully and generating homework. While treatment protocols for specific disorders will not be reviewed, participants can apply these skills for separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.