SPACE Treatment: A Parent's Guide to Help Children With Anxiety Disorders and OCD

It can be challenging to watch your child or adolescent struggle with anxiety disorders as a parent or caregiver. The most common obstacle tends to be feeling helpless or struggling to discover strategies to help them manage their emotions and symptoms. However, children are not the only ones who can benefit from treatment. Parents also need some guidance to understand and support their kids through the process. Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) is a research based parent-centered method to help manage anxiety and OCD in children. Keep reading to learn more about how SPACE works. If you need a psychologist who understands children and helps parents in Phoenix, contact us at Simply Psychology! We implement research-based effective therapy methods to promote independent problem-solving.

What Is SPACE?

SPACE is a cutting-edge, research-based method for treating anxiety in children. It addresses separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, fears and phobias, selective mutism, and panic disorder. Family accommodation is when we, as parents, do something to reduce our child’s anxiety. This is a very normal and expected response, however it is not the most helpful in the long run with helping your child with their anxiety.SPACE's approach is to help educate parents on ways to change or implement their own behaviors, the only thing they are truly in charge of, to help alleviate their child's anxiety.

How Does SPACE Treatment Work?

Although the parents or caregivers take the course, the target for treatment is the child.. Children do not need to attend the program's sessions, however it is the child’s anxiety that we are treating. SPACE provides parents with the tools they need to understand what could be the root causes of their kid's anxiety and how to help their child by validating their child’s feelings and changing their own behaviors.

Unlike other treatment methods, SPACE does not require the child to change their behavior to overcome anxiety. Instead, it focuses on what changes the parents can make to their own behavior to encourage their children and offer the support they need. One of this treatment's pillars is learning to reduce " family accommodations " regarding anxiety. Parents’ altering behaviors and routines to prevent their children from experiencing anxiety symptoms could actually be more detrimental in the long run. Examples of this include:

  • Doing things that make their kids uncomfortable for them to prevent them from feeling anxious—for example, speaking for them when they have social anxiety.
  • Adjusting their schedules and routines to fit their kids'—for example, deciding not to have friends over because people make their kid anxious.
  • Sleeping in the kid's room every night because of their separation anxiety.

While these apparently effective solutions may work in the short term, they reinforce the child's anxious responses and symptoms to these scenarios. With SPACE, parents can identify what accommodations they might be making and how to reduce them gradually throughout the process.

SPACE Treatment in Phoenix

Treating anxiety symptoms from a young age is crucial to prevent it from growing and settling well into adulthood. It is important to remember that a family is a support system that also plays a role in relieving the child from the disorder. If you are looking for parenting courses for children with anxiety disorders, get in touch with us at Simply Psychology, LLC. We offer individual counseling, parent and behavioral coaching, social skills groups, evaluations, and multiple parent workshops to meet your needs.

At Simply Psychology,vLLC we will support your parenting style while offering resources and suggestions, so you can be the best you can be! Contact us online or call (602) 428-2838 today for more information!