All patients at the Child Mind Institute receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation before starting treatment. We begin by interviewing (often separately and together) the child and her parents, as well as gathering information from a variety of other sources including teachers, previous therapists and pediatricians. We also use gold-standard diagnostic measures to better assess the symptoms and concerns. After the evaluation is completed, we provide accurate diagnoses, comprehensive feedback and treatment recommendations.
We incorporate the latest research about effective treatments and tailor it with sensitivity to the experiences and needs of each person. We use evidence-based treatments to effectively resolve symptoms and teach children, adolescents and young adults skills to maintain their success in the long-term. Treatment may be provided individually, or may also involve parents and/or other family members.
Depending on the presentation of symptoms, psychotherapy treatments may include the following interventions:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most widely researched form of therapy for mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder. With CBT, children, adolescents and young adults learn about the connections among their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Once these connections are made, patients and therapists actively collaborate to meet specific goals, such as helping patients notice and change their unhelpful thoughts, improving their problem-solving abilities and increasing their involvement in positive activities that promote healthy choices. Treatment may also include Behavioral Activation — planned activities aimed at promoting increased mood and energy level.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is recommended for adolescents and young adults who have difficulty regulating their emotions. DBT involves learning skills to tolerate distress, manage strong and upsetting emotions, decrease impulsive behaviors, including self-harm, and improve relationships with friends and family. Learn more about DBT.
Radically Open DBT (RODBT) is recommended for teenagers and adults who cope with their emotions by exercising excessive self-control. People who are overcontrolled in their behaviors and thoughts tend to struggle with the flexibility required to make and sustain healthy relationships and tend to be overly focused on perfection and achievement in their lives. RO-DBT teaches individuals how to break free of rule-governed behavior with the aim of increasing openness and receptivity with others through use of techniques and skills. Learn more about RO-DBT.
Mindfulness-Based Intervention, when appropriate, is used as an adjunctive treatment for mood disorders to assist in helping children and adolescents manage challenging emotions. Mindfulness means being aware and being focused on what’s happening right now in this moment – without rejecting it or judging it. Learn more about mindfulness.
Use of medication in the treatment of mood disorders
Research has demonstrated that for many patients with mood disorders, medication may play an important role in symptom relief, recovery and prevention of future mood episodes. When medication may be helpful, our team works with board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists at the Child Mind Institute or collaborates with your physician or other providers. Our psychiatrists offer expert consultation on whether medication can improve treatment outcome, and provide ongoing medication management when desired.
Additional components of treatment include family therapy, parent management skills training and support, psychoeducation and collaboration with your child’s school. We take a personalized approach to each patient and family, understanding that not all children, adolescents and young adults are the same, and treatment should be sensitively designed for each patient.