Anxiety and OCD

Young people with Anxiety and OCD are often overwhelmed with “stuff that’s loud,” i.e. thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations that can be terrifying.  In response they get stuck in spirals of rituals, compulsions and avoidance, that have significant social, academic, and psychological costs for the young person and their family. Without effective therapy, this can go on for months or years.   


Despite the need for intervention, it often takes families years to find clinicians, like ourselves, trained in evidence based approaches such as exposure-based treatment (ERP) and SPACE treatment (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions by Eli Lebowitz).  ERP is a potent and effective approach considered the gold standard in the treatment of OCD and related disorders.  SPACE is an essential part of any developmentally sensitive approach to supporting children and the parents of children who suffer from anxiety and OCD.


OCD and anxiety disorders are highly treatable and there is so much hope for life changing improvement.  Through our approach we have helped transform the lives of children and young people who are suffering, helping them shift from a pattern of compulsive avoidance and control in response to fears and discomfort,  to a place of curiosity, willingness and flexibility.



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ERP – Exposure and Response Prevention

ERP therapy is a behavioural therapy that very gradually exposes the young person to situations designed to provoke their obsessions, while in a safe and supportive environment. A hallmark of ERP is that it doesn’t aim to completely remove distressing situations and thoughts. Not only can distress not be eliminated from someone’s life altogether, but trying to doing this is what has lead to the vicious cycle of avoidance and control so apparent in individuals with anxiety and OCD. Instead ERP provides a patient with coping skills for when a triggering situation presents itself, allowing them to then use the skills to prevent their compulsion from taking over.

ACT and DNA-V 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a form of clinical behaviour therapy which seeks to increase psychological flexibility and resilience in the presence of very difficult emotions and life events in the service of helping the young person who is suffering to live a rich and meaningful life.

The DNA – V is a developmentally sensitive model of ACT designed by Dr Louise Hayes to better serve the needs of children and young people. 

SPACE – Supportive Parenting For Anxious Childhood Emotions

SPACE was developed by Dr. Eli Lebowitz at the Yale Child Study Center. Parents/caregivers are the focus of SPACE treatment sessions and in most cases, the child or adolescent does not need to attend the treatment sessions. Why? because parents who participate in SPACE will learn skills and tools to help their child overcome anxiety, OCD or related problems by focusing on changes that parents can make to their own behaviour. SPACE is particularly helpful when your loved one is very young or is resistant to therapy.