Our Treatment Approach

Our treatment approach is individualized to each youth. Prior to beginning treatment, youth complete a brief evaluation to ensure that PATCH is the best place for them to receive services and to develop an individualized treatment plan. While each youth’s treatment is unique, treatment is always guided by the best practice recommendations in the field and often falls into one or more of the following categories:

CBT is the most proven effective psychotherapy for pediatric anxiety disorders. CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps youth cope with anxiety, challenge anxious thoughts, and face (rather than avoid) the things that make them anxious. CBT is always tailored to the specific problem and the individual, but typically includes both cognitive (“thinking”) and behavioral (“action“) strategies.

Exposure and response prevention (EX/RP or “exposure therapy”) is a type of CBT for youth that works best for youth with anxiety and OCD. The best way for youth to learn to “boss back” their anxiety is to gradually and repeatedly face things that make them nervous or afraid. EX/RP involves systematic exercises, designed collaboratively between the therapist, the client, and the family to help youth face their fears and learn to manage anxiety in a more helpful way. 

Habit Reversal Training (HRT) is most commonly used for youth experiencing tics or trichotillomania. HRT treatment often begins by working with youth to build their awareness that a tic or other impulsive behavior (e.g., hair pulling) is occurring through a series of strategies that have shown to be effective. Then, the therapist and the youth work together to identify specific, tailored strategies that the youth can use to reduce the occurrence of tics or other impulsive behaviors so that they no longer cause significant interference in a youth’s daily activities.  

Regardless of their primary concerns, youth are encouraged to actively participate in their therapy and often will be asked to practice the techniques in between sessions. Parents, teachers, and other caregivers around the child learn strategies to support the youth’s progress, often acting as "coaches" to help youth put into practice the skills they have learned. Once the skills are learned and practiced, youth can keep using what they have learned in therapy to approach other problems in their lives. Therapy can be used alone or with medication, depending on the severity and nature of each client’s problem.

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