Orlando Child & Teen OCD Therapy & Treatment
(Pediatric OCD Therapy)
(GroundWork offers virtual sessions for clients residing in: Florida, Maine, Vermont, South Carolina & Montana)
At GroundWork Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Orlando we specialize in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in children utilizing evidence-based Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Our child anxiety and OCD therapist specifically specializes in the treatment of OCD in children and adolescents and has received extensive training in effective and evidence-based treatment methods for children and teens.
For information regarding adult OCD treatment please click Here.
About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
OCD is an anxiety disorder that consists of both obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that are distressing and often cause worry, guilt or shame. Children with OCD often engage in repetitive physical behaviors such as excessive washing, tapping, counting, questioning, and confessing, however, children can also engage in mental rituals such as reviewing, analyzing, and neutralizing.
According to the International OCD Foundation, approximately half a million children in the United States suffer from OCD. This means that about one in 200 children, or four to five children in an average-sized elementary school, and about 20 teenagers in a large high school may have OCD.
Childhood OCD is typically connected to significant interference in levels of functioning in social and academic settings and contributes to emotional and behavioral problems as well as problems within the family unit. If left untreated, OCD can become so severe that it interferes with important activities such as going to school, spending time with friends, eating habits, and basic self-care. Many children and teens with OCD begin to avoid activities they once enjoyed. And because children and adolescents typically involve family members in their OCD by helping them to avoid their feared situations and take part in their rituals, OCD often becomes a “family illness”. In addition, OCD in children and adolescents is often mistaken for other anxiety disorders, depression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Parents can often feel frustrated, scared, or confused by their child’s compulsive behaviors or distressing thoughts, however it is important to know there is effective treatment for children struggling with OCD.
Common obsessions may include:
- Excessive fears about doing something wrong
- Excessive fears about bad things that might happen
- Excessive fears about germs, getting sick or dying
- Distressing and unwanted thoughts or images about hurting others
- Distressing and unwanted thoughts or images of a sexual nature
- Feeling that things have to be “just right”
Common compulsions may include:
- Excessive washing, cleaning, checking, or counting
- Excessive confessing, questioning, praying, and apologizing
- Significant avoidance behaviors
- Ordering and arranging things / need for symmetry
- Repeating actions until they feel “right”
- Repeating lucky words, numbers, or phrases
- Doing things over and over (tapping, touching, saying certain words)
- Compulsively changing clothes due to sensory discomfort
- Limiting foods / disordered eating habits
Effective Treatment For Pediatric OCD & Finding A Qualified Therapist
At GroundWork Counseling, our goal is to provide children and teens with OCD treatment that is brief, evidence-based, and effective. Our child anxiety and OCD therapist specializes in the treatment of OCD in children and adolescents and has received extensive training to provide qualified and evidence-based care to children and teens struggling with the disorder.
The treatment for OCD in children and adolescents with OCD follows the same principal methods as treatment for adults with OCD. Through extensive research, a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) has been found to be the most effective treatment for children, adolescents and adults with OCD. Less than 1% of mental health practitioners (therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians) in the country have received specific training in ERP, which often leads families to ineffective treatment options.
Guidelines established by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) for the treatment of pediatric OCD recommend ERP as the first line of treatment for children and adolescents with mild to moderate cases of OCD; a combination of ERP and medication is recommended for severe cases of OCD. Although CBT and ERP for children and adolescents with OCD is very similar to the treatment of OCD in adults, treating children presents certain age-specific issues that make treatment more complex. For these reasons, it is extremely important that your child works with a therapist who specializes in both OCD and the treatment of children.
Because of the complexity of OCD in general and specifically in children, it is critical that children and adolescents with OCD receive treatment by a therapist who has received advanced training and specializes not only in the treatment of OCD, but also specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents. It is important to thoroughly interview a prospective therapist before scheduling an appointment for your child.
Consider asking the following questions:
- Do you have a background in treating children and adolescents?
- How do you treat OCD?
- Are you trained to treat OCD and where did you receive your training?
- How many children and teens with OCD have you successfully treated?
- What percentage of your therapeutic practice is working with children with OCD?
- Will you work with and coordinate with other treatment providers such as the child’s pediatrician or school guidance counselor?
- Are you willing to treat OCD in the setting it most frequently occurs, if necessary?
- Do you involve family members in treatment?
- See Our Full List Of Questions
- If the therapist tells you that he or she treats OCD using talk therapy, play therapy, relaxation, role playing, alternative therapies or an “eclectic approach”
- If the therapist sees a wide variety of challenges and populations but also claims to specialize in OCD
- If the therapeutic treatment is aimed to find out “what caused” OCD
- If a therapist suggests using “thought stopping” techniques
- If the therapist implies that your child will need years of therapy for OCD
- If the therapist suggests that learning “coping skills” will help treat OCD
- If the therapist becomes guarded or defensive about your questions or answers in vague terms
- If the therapist tells you that your parenting has caused OCD
- If the therapist tells you that childhood trauma has caused OCD