Frequently asked questions
Why should I choose the Child Anxiety Center?
We undestand that there are many available clinicians in the region, many of whom are excellent in their own right. The Child Anxiety Center is specifically designed to provide high-quality cognitive behavioral therapy and psychopharmacological treatment for anxiety disorders and their most commonly co-occurring conditions. The clinicians at CAC differentiate themselves from others by their commitment to patient experience, their level of expertise in treating childhood anxiety disorders, and their knowledge of the state-of-the-art treatment methods.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a family of psychotherapies that has been shown to be effective in thousands of research studies including a high number of randomized control trials (the gold standard for clinical research). All that is to say that CBT is firmly established as the therapy of choice for a wide range of mental health disorders including anxiety disorders. Although there are some variances between different cognitive behavioral therapies, they all should be time-sensitive, structured, actionable, and present-oriented. You and your child will work to identify the most important treatment goals and then be taught how to overcome obstacles that get in the way. At the Child Anxiety Center, we do not follow cookie cutter manualized approaches to CBT. We design the treatment plan based on your child's specific profile, detailing the biopsychosocial processes (behaviors) that are maintaining their disorder and identifying the treatment methods that are most likely to change those processes.
Do all Therapists provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
The unfortunate reality is that many therapists do not consistently or properly implement cognitive behavioral therapy. It has become fashionable for therapists to describe themselves as offering CBT even when in practice they do something quite different; it is often necesary and appropriate to ask what kind of training your potential therapist has received. National agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and the International OCD Foundation have identified a need for greater use of these treatments, including proper training and supervision of more professionals. The Child Anxiety Center aims to be a resource in the community to provide that training and advance best practices in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders.
What is Exposure Therapy?
It is impossible to talk about anxiety treatment without mentioning exposure therapy. Exposure Therapy is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that was developed to help people gradually confront their fears, and it is now considered the most effective single treatment for anxiety disorders. When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities, or situations, which in turn solidifies the fear response in the brain. Through a neurobiological process called extinction learning, a child with anxiety is able to learn safety in such a way that it is strong enough to block out (or inhibit) the original fear. That new learning is what leads to reduction in anxiety symptoms over time and results in more adaptive behavior.
How long will treatment last?
It's good to know that we all want therapy to end as soon as possible, while ensuring that your child's needs have been fully addressed. It is difficult to give a firm number, but based on most clinical research you can expect your child's treatment to last between 5-20 sessions depending on the particular condition. That being said, in more severe cases it would not be unexpected for treatment to last longer. After the initial intake, your therapist will be able to provide a more accurate estimate.
Does my child need to undergo the initial assessment?
Yes, for a number of reasons. The initial assessment provides information on your child's particular presentation and helps ensure the quality of the assessment process. Although your child may have received a diagnosis elsewhere, our clinicians will need to obtain further descriptive and functional details on your child in order to develop the best treatment plan. The assessment process includes a telephone screen, structured diagnostic interview, computer-based assessment, and face-to-face meeting (total time 60-90 minutes). Following this assessment, you will be provided with more specific treatment recommendations.
Is treatment worth the investment? Does it even work?
The answer is a resounding yes. In clinical research CBT generally outperforms waitlist controls, placebo controls, other psychological treatments (for example, psychodynamic therapy), and in some cases, psychiatric medications for patients seeking treatment for anxiety disorders. As a general rule though, findings suggest that both CBT and medication are equally effective in the treatment of non-psychotic disorders and should be chosen in consideration of family preference, risks of side effects, and patient motivation. In many cases a combined approach leads to the best results! Our treatment model at CAC is a collaborative one. We will provide you with all the latest information, listen to your concerns, and devise a plan specifically for your child. There will be no pressure to use medication, nor will you be criticism if you do choose that route.
Do you only treat anxiety?
No. We specialize in treating anxiety disorders, however, we provide effective, evidence-based treatment for children presenting with other related problems, including depression, bipolar, OCD, sleep-related problems, ADHD, behavioral problems in children, and many more.
Are there conditions you won't treat?
We work hard to accommodate the needs of most children who require up to intensive outpatient or homebound services. In cases where children do require a higher level of service than we provide, we will assist families in obtaining the correct placement. However, in general, children who are abusing or dependent on alcohol or substances are not eligible for treatment until they maintain sobriety for a 3-month period (90 days). We also do not treat children in acute psychiatric crisis who present a danger to themselves or others, since we do not provide the necessary emergency mental health services.
What is coordinated medication management?
In an effort to provide all the best treatments in behavioral health we offer medication management delivered by a highly skilled psychiatric nurse practitioner. When your medication management is done through our center we are able to closely coordinate the psychological and biological treatment efforts. Given your prescriber is a part of the CAC treatment team, there will be ongoing communication between clinicians to the benefit of your child. At CAC, medication titration and response is closely monitored using frequent measurement of patient symptoms. This allows us to make real-time adjustments based upon the collected data with goal of minimizing side-effects and increasing therapeutic response.
We live far away. Can my child receive teletherapy or telepsychiatry?
Yes! One of our goals is to make our treatments available wherever they are needed. Unfortunately many of the treatments we offer are most likely to be available in larger metropolitan areas. This often leaves families in suburban and rural areas without access to the appropriate services. At the Child Anxiety Center we are offering telehealth as a solution to bridge the gap between expert clinicians and families in need. Our telehealth options involve the use of web-based communication services to deliver treatment directly to your home and simply require internet access. In addition to eliminating geographic barriers to treatment, telehealth provides live coaching in the very environment the problems are occurring. If you live an area where the services we provide are unavailable, we would love to discuss how we can leverage the available technology to meet your needs.
Are you able to provide faith-based therapy?
At the Child Anxiety Center we recognize that spirituality plays a vital role in the lives of many of the families with whom we work. Current research also suggests that spirituality can play an important role in addressing mental health concerns. Moreover, many families prefer that spirituality be woven into psychological treatment. At the Child Anxiety Center we make it a priority to assess spirituality with all patients. However, integration of faith-based content into treatment is done only at the discretion of the patient and their family. Depending on your religious orientation, it is at times possible to connect you with a therapist who practices your same faith. If we do not have a therapist with your particular religious orientation we are happy to partner with religious leaders to address any concerns that you may have.
What if my child refuses to come in for therapy?
Although we would love for every child to come in at a stage where they are ready and willing to participate in treatment, we understand that it is sometimes not the case. Fortunately we have the capability to conduct our initial assessment at your home and conduct therapy in that setting if necessary. Alternatively, there are also evidenced-based therapies focused on development of parent managment skills that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials and may provide an adequate starting point for treatment.
What are your insurance policies fee policies?
Please refer to our Fees + Insurance page for answers.