OCD inflicts 1 in 200 young people, often disrupting their academic, social, and vocational functioning. There is a concern among professionals regarding this demographic, because so few receive a correct diagnosis and even fewer receive appropriate treatment.
If you’re a parent, how can you ensure that your child receives the right treatment? If you suspect your child suffers from OCD, it is suggested that you request the school psychologist to administer the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS), and/or have a qualified therapist administer the test. When it comes to treating pediatric OCD, research indicates that CBT with the focus on parents and family involvement provide the most positive outcomes.
What to Expect in Treatment
The parent and child first need to understand the nature of the disorder. Simplified cognitive training is provided and adjusted according to the child’s cognitive function. Treatment includes: identifying the obsessions and compulsions, triggers, associated avoidance behaviors, time taken, distress experienced, interference with different functional areas in the child’s life, motivation and ability to resist, and the inclusion of members of the family into the rituals. A symptom list is created according to the child’s view of difficulty. The child’s strengths are emphasized in order to empower the young client against OCD. Parents’ participation in treatment is essential for satisfying results.
Children will also learn ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) skills and receive mindfulness training taught according to the child’s age and cognitive level. Though OCD is scary and unpleasant, children will be taught skills in a creative and non-threatening way. Your child therapists will use expressive arts and play therapy interventions during treatment.
Drawings, pictures, handouts, story books, puppets, and other visual aids will be used in order to help children understand the concepts presented in treatment at each session.
When working with children, we believe parents are an essential component to the success of the treatment. During your child’s treatment, you will also learn skills to strengthen your relationship with your children.