Child and Adolescent Services

Children and Adolescents  |  Young Adults

Emotional problems in children and teenagers are quite common, occurring in about one quarter of children in any given year. Many children and teens encounter stressful events that may lead them to need short-term intervention. A death in the family, divorce, and anxiety about school or friendships respond well to short-term cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is also effective for treating more severe symptoms that significantly impact functioning at home and in school.

Research studies conducted over the last fifty years have consistently shown how effective cognitive-behavioral therapy is at addressing many mental health and life problems. CBT for children and teens focuses on helping them build important skills for meeting all kinds of life challenges. These skills are aimed at helping children and teens act more effectively (the behavioral part of CBT) and think more effectively (the cognitive part of CBT). Our clients learn skills for being successful in school, getting along with their peers, and managing the stress of a demanding and often confusing modern life.

At AICT, our child and adolescent specialists provide individual therapy and family therapy for children (ages 2-12), teens (ages 3-18), and their families. When necessary, we also provide short-term parent skills training and support for parents having difficulty managing behavior in the home. All treatment is evidence-based, which means that the treatment models we use have been repeatedly tested in research and clinical settings, and have been found to be effective in improving the problems they’re designed to treat. Our licensed clinical psychologists are extensively trained in CBT, Trauma-Focused CBT, parent skills training, family therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

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Problems we treat at AICT:

  • Anxiety Disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and specific phobias
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Behavior Problems including temper tantrums, physical aggression, and noncompliance
  • Coming out issues
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-Eating Disorder
  • Enuresis and encopresis
  • Disorders related to significant life stressors (divorce, death of a loved one)
  • Insomnia, nightmares, and night terrors
  • Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder and related disorders, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, hair-pulling, and skin-picking
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Problems related to adoption
  • School refusal
  • Suicidality and self-harm

How we work with parents:

Working with parents is an integral part of treatment at AICT. Parents may be involved through participation in regular or as-needed family sessions, regular or as-needed separate meetings with their child’s therapist, or by participating in parent skills training. In addition, your child’s therapist is available for between-session consultation and support. Parents with pre-school, elementary school, and middle school children should expect to be regularly involved in treatment. Parents of teens may participate less, but will have regular contact with their child’s therapist and be involved in making decisions about treatment.

How we work with schools and other service providers:

Because children are often involved with so many systems and adults other than their parents (teachers, coaches, tutors, other mental health and medical professionals), AICT child therapists often work with or provide consultation to other professionals. For example, we regularly work with teachers to make the school environment more conducive to learning or good behavior. We will also consult regularly with your child’s psychiatrist if your child is taking medication.

AICT Staff who work with children and adolescents:

Susan Trachtenberg Paula, Ph.D., Director of Child and Adolescent Program, is a New York State licensed psychologist with extensive experience in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and cognitive-behavioral play therapy.She works primarily with clients of all ages, from very young children to adults, and with families. Dr. Paula specializes in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and emotional dysregulation in children and adults.  She also treats and specializes in mood and anxiety disorders across the life span and in helping parents develop effective skills for managing difficult behavior in their children.

Heather Glubo, Ph.D., Director of Behavioral Medicine, Clinician, is a New York State licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and specialized training in health psychology. Dr. Glubo’s clinical health psychology training focused on the mind-body connection in treating neurological and medical conditions. She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship and a predoctoral internship (APA Accredited) in Clinical Neurorehabilitation Psychology at New York University Langone Medical Center, Rusk Rehabilitation. Dr. Glubo uses a biopsychosocial approach in her practice. She considers the biological, psychological and social factors that influence the way her clients feel, think and act, and how those factors impact overall health. Her behavioral medicine work is informed by evidence-based treatments used to help those suffering from concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), headaches, pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Additionally, she provides neuropsychological evaluations to assess cognitive functioning, which is used to inform her cognitive treatment aimed at improving attention, memory, processing speed, language, visual-spatial skills, and executive functions

Dr-AllisonAllison Funk, Ph.D., is a New York State licensed psychologist at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo Honors College and her doctorate from Hofstra University’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. Dr. Funk has extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She has served as a therapist at Hofstra’s Anxiety and Depression Clinic, ACT Clinic, and DBT Clinic, as well as the Mount Sinai Addiction Institute and CUNY Graduate Center Student Counseling Services. She completed her APA-accredited internship at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Dr. Funk’s approach to therapy emphasizes the individual, applying the principles of cognitive and behavioral therapies in a flexible manner to meet each client’s unique needs. She has particular expertise in working with individuals who are navigating anxiety, adolescents, depression, trauma, work or school stress, perfectionism, and procrastination, as well as numerous other life challenges. Dr. Funk views treatment as a collaborative process in which the therapist and client work as a team to identify factors contributing to the area of concern, set goals, and create change.

Melissa D. Horowitz, PsyD., Director of Clinical Training, Director of Eating Disorders and Weight Management Program, is a New York State licensed psychologist with extensive experience in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), social problem-solving, motivational interviewing and mindfulness-based approaches. She works with adolescents, college students, adults and families. Dr. Horowitz specializes in the treatment of eating disorders (binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia) and body-image and weight-management issues in both men and women. She also specializes in the treatment of mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, panic disorder, phobias), and obsessive compulsive and related disorders (trichotillomania, skin-picking, body-dysmorphic disorder). Additional areas of expertise include insomnia, grief, procrastination, perfectionism, substance abuse, personality disorders and chronic health issues. Dr. Horowitz has been intensively trained in working with individuals struggling with regulating their emotions, impulsivity, poor problem-solving skills, interpersonal conflicts and self-injury.

Dr-BrianneBrianne Dickey, Ph.D., is a New York State licensed psychologist at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy. Dr. Dickey has broad experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and third-wave approaches such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness. Through her experiences in various treatment settings, Dr. Dickey has worked with children struggling with challenges including anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), adjustment and impulse control. She has worked with people of all ages with various presenting problems including anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, trauma, grief, and those struggling to navigate the challenges and stress caused by changes in life stages and circumstances. Dr. Dickey’s experience working with children and adolescents predates her doctoral training, as she spent three years as a therapeutic counselor at Little Keswick Therapeutic Boarding School in Virginia. Dr. Dickey has also received specialized training in Sport Psychology, and worked with Division I college athletes at Fairleigh Dickinson utilizing CBT principles to target anxiety maintenance and performance enhancement for both individual athletes and athletic teams. Dr. Dickey has extensive experience working with ASD at the Seaver Autism Center through Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and as a behavioral therapist at both the Keswell School in Manhattan and by providing at-home ABA therapy to children and adolescents through Hybridge Learning Group. Dr. Dickey’s broad experiences have enhanced her clinical insight into how people are shaped by their environments, and furthered her deep appreciation for different cultural values and practices.

Helpful Resources

For more information on children and adolescents please see the following chapters that you can download below:

Helpful Links for a discussion on evidence-based treatments for children. –  The American Psychological Association’s Report Young Children’s mental health – Recognizing Mental Health Problems in Children

Cognitive Therapy
Substance Abuse Miniseries by
Dr. Graham Reynolds