SPACE stands for Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions and is a parent-based treatment program for children and adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and related problems. SPACE has been tested and found to be as effective as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for reducing childhood anxiety in randomized controlled clinical trials. SPACE can also be effective with children who are unable or unwilling to participate in traditional therapy. I was very privileged to participate in a recent training with Dr. Eli Lebowitz, who developed the SPACE program at the Yale Child Study Center and literally wrote the book on childhood anxiety (three books, actually.)
SPACE aims to treat children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although children do not have to attend SPACE sessions – they are the patients! When SPACE treatment is successful, children feel less anxious and function better following treatment.
Some of the main anxiety problems treated with SPACE include:
- Separation anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Generalized anxiety
- Fears and phobias
- Panic disorder and Agoraphobia
- Selective mutism
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Parents who participate in SPACE will learn skills and tools to help their child overcome anxiety, OCD or related problems. The treatment focuses on changes that parents can make to their own behavior, they do not need to make their child change. The two main changes that parents learn to make in SPACE treatment are to respond more supportively to their anxious child and to reduce the accommodations they have been making to the child symptoms.
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