Our Treatment Approach
We believe that the best treatment begins with a careful assessment of the needs and strengths of the person, as well as understanding their family and social environment. Our goal is to gain an appreciation for the unique characteristics of your child in order to design an individualized treatment approach. Often, treatment includes a well-balanced combination of several approaches.
Behavior training (also referred to as behavior modification or behavior management), uses learning principles to change an individual’s behavior patterns. Functional analysis may first determine what purpose or need unwanted behaviors are accomplishing.
Behavior training seeks to nuance and tailor approaches for an individual child, while reinforcing motivation and consistency across environments. Communication with school professionals and other caregiving providers can help consistency.
Behavior therapies first coach parents and caregivers about effective ways to set expectations and limits with their children. Next steps include learning how to monitor and reinforce positive, desired behaviors.
SLBMI currently offers Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment combining behavioral and play therapy to address difficult behaviors in young children (e.g., noncompliance, negative mood, relationship problems).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The primary goal of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is to help people modify the way they think, feel and behave in response to emotional and environmental stressors. CBT approaches are research-tested and effective for many clinical conditions affecting youth: anxiety disorders, OCD, depression, ADHD/executive functioning and anger management, for instance. Although every child’s therapy is unique, there are several common components of CBT for children, teens and their families.
In CBT, youth and their parents learn new skills that will help them cope with difficult situations. These skills include recognizing bodily symptoms of increasing emotional intensity, calming oneself when angry or nervous, problem-solving, correcting mistaken beliefs and learning to get along with peers and adults. Parents learn how to encourage their child’s healthy behavior. Also, parents become better at praising positive behavior and providing consistent consequences for negative behavior.
With most children, family involvement is critically important. This may involve the parents or even the entire family participating in therapy. Typically, the child’s or teen’s therapist educates the family about the problem and provides guidelines for how to be helpful. In some instances, the therapist may help the family set-up a reward program to help motivate the child to comply with treatment. More extensive family counseling is sometimes needed.
Family Based Intervention for Disordered Eating (FBT or Maudsley Method)
We offer Family Based Treatment (FBT-AN) for adolescents and young adults with eating disorders (the Maudsley Approach). Controlled research studies have demonstrated that FBT is an effective intervention for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Controlled research studies report success rates as high as 80-90% within the home environment, thereby reducing costly admissions to residential or inpatient treatment facilities. The focus of FBT is empowering and supporting parents to actively take charge of their child’s weight restoration, symptom reduction, and the return to their normal developmental trajectory.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)
Sometimes individuals need more intensive treatment than weekly outpatient treatment, but may not be so impaired that they need to be in the hospital. This can be a very effective and less expensive way to treat more severe disorders. The Institute is able to offer more intensive treatment for youth with anxiety disorders and eating disorders.
In some cases, other types of psychotherapy may be beneficial. A child’s therapist may also recommend that certain family members seek individual therapy so that he or she is better equipped to support the child’s progress. Support groups and group therapy are also available, which provide the child with moral support and the opportunity to interact with a group of people who all are facing similar issues.