Childhood & Teen Anxiety / OCD

If you’ve tried everything to help your child with their anxiety – and they are still highly anxious – effective treatment can help. We offer treatment for Childhood & Teen Anxiety / OCD in our Denver office.

Childhood & Teen Anxiety

Does my child have an anxiety disorder?

Child anxiety doesn’t always look like “anxiety.” It can manifest in many different ways, including:

  • angry outbursts

  • defiance

  • behavioral issues

  • problems concentrating

  • school refusal

  • excessive rigidity

  • struggles with grades

  • excessive “sick days”

  • physical pains

  • sleep issues

  • general fatigue

Some common types of childhood anxiety include:

  • Children with generalized anxiety tend to worry excessively about a variety of things, such as their performance at school, potential sources of danger, and worst-case scenarios.
  • They tend to struggle with change and may excessively plan ahead to cope with anxious feelings.
  • This is a common type of anxiety in younger children and involves excessive fear or worry about separation from loved ones, such as parents or caregivers.
  • Children with social anxiety may feel very anxious in social situations, such as when meeting new people or participating in class.
  • This often manifests as school refusal or excessive “sick days.”
  • Children with specific phobias may have an irrational, excessive fear of a specific object or situation, such as dogs, heights, cars, or the dark.
  • Children with OCD experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors they perform in order to reduce their anxiety.
  • Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors may be related to a variety of themes, such as contamination, symmetry or order, sexual themes, or fear of harm.
Childhood & Teen Anxiety/OCD

We work directly with parents to treat your child’s anxiety.

Around half of all children who attend their own therapy for anxiety do not get better.

This is due to many factors, including a child’s motivation for treatment, a lack of a systemic (and family-oriented) approach, and logistical constraints (including inability to commit to multiple months of in-person therapy).

At Vivid Psychology Group we offer SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) treatment for childhood & teen anxiety, which is a modernized, parent-facing approach to treat child anxiety disorders. SPACE has been shown to be just as effective as traditional child-treatment methods in reducing anxiety symptoms (and comes with additional benefits).

SPACE treatment may be an excellent fit for your family if:

  • The child or teen does not WANT to do (or doesn’t like) therapy
  • You don’t want you child thinking something is wrong with them (or that they need to be “fixed”)
  • Your child is treatment resistant for other reasons
  • As a parent, you want to take a more active role in treatment (without having to adopt a “therapist” role)
  • You want to better understand the systemic nature of childhood anxiety and learn tools to address it

Why do you sessions with parent(s) if it’s the child who is anxious…?

Most childhood & teen anxiety treatment (including child-focused CBT) use similar methods used for adults, only with more pictures and simpler language. The problem is, child anxiety and adult anxiety differ in one fundamentally important way: children often can’t escape danger on their own, so they rely on adults to manage their anxiety response!

All children rely on caregivers to protect them from danger and step in to help when needed. However, sometimes your efforts to protect your child from scary things actually makes their anxiety worse.

Isn’t it good to protect children from scary things…?

Yes, we should protect children from real danger! However, problems can start to happen when we protect children from anxiety itself (rather than real threats in the world).

Every time you step in to save your child from something scary, you reinforce their anxiety response. If you find yourself constantly stepping in to protect your anxious child, your efforts to help actually may be increasing their anxiety!

Changing caregiver behavior alone can drastically reduce childhood anxiety.

We use SPACE treatment to help parents learn how to adjust their own behaviors to help their children get relief from anxiety. SPACE treatment requires no participation from the child, yet has been shown to be just as effective as traditional child anxiety treatments.

Learn more about SPACE treatment here.

Are you ready to take the first step?