SPACE is an exciting new treatment that helps children with anxiety disorders and OCD. It was developed by Dr. Eli Lebowitz at the Yale Child Study Center. SPACE stands for Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions. Unlike most other treatments for childhood anxiety, SPACE is focused on working with parents. Research shows that SPACE treatment can help anxious children feel less anxious and function better, even though the therapist may never meet them.
Anyone who has parented an anxious child knows how their child’s anxiety disorder can affect the whole family. Parents and siblings often make accommodations to the child’s anxiety. They may change their schedules, avoid activities they enjoy, and change sleeping and eating arrangements, all to reduce the anxiety their children feel. Unfortunately, all of these accommodations make the problem worse, not better.
Parents who participate in SPACE learn to respond more supportively to their anxious child and reduce the accommodations they have been making to the child’s symptoms. Treatment typically takes about 12 sessions, but will be tailored to fit the family’s exact circumstances.
If you’re interested in reading more about SPACE, here are some resources:
To make an appointment to talk to a SPACE therapist, please call our intake coordinator at (212) 308-2440.