Our clinicians have particular expertise in evaluating and treating the following anxiety disorders and related conditions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by persistent, intrusive ideas, thoughts, impulses or images (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) that are severe enough to be time consuming or cause distress and/or significantly interfere with daily functioning. Compulsions may include excessively asking for assurance, repetitive counting, checking, hand washing or cleaning, in an effort to reduce anxiety. Compulsions can sometimes provide temporary relief; however, in the longer-term, they may lead to increased levels of anxiety and distress.
Selective Mutism (SM) occurs when a child persistently lacks speech in some social situations such as at school but not in others, despite the ability to use and comprehend language. The functioning of a child with SM can be impaired in settings were the child lacks the ability to communicate, and although there is some evidence that SM improves over time, notable impairment remains, highlighting the importance of intervention over waiting for SM to remit spontaneously. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is one of the most promising treatments for SM. CBT involves
systematically addressing the child’s avoidance of speaking through behavior management techniques. This may include role-playing as well as live observation and reinforcement as well as the use of video review. Integral to the treatment is the involvement of parents and teachers in order to help generalize gains to the home and school environment. When necessary, medication may be effective in combination with CBT and this is discussed with parents as part of the treatment process.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety is a part of typical development, however, when symptoms significantly impact a child’s daily functioning it is characterized as a disorder. Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) affects approximately 2-5% of children and can cause substantive distress and difficulties in important routines and activities, such as attending school, sleeping alone, staying at a friend’s house and/or going on vacation.
Specific Phobia is marked and persistent fear of harmless objects or situations that may trigger an immediate anxiety response. Some common phobias include a fear of animals, flying, storms, as well as receiving an injection or seeing blood.