What We Treat
At BPS, our clinicians have expertise in treating children and adolescents struggling with a variety of mental health issues. Common reasons for seeking treatment are:
- Suicidal ideation or behavior
- Defiance of rules/authority
- Depressed mood
- Intense emotions
- Gender Identity
- Self-harm behaviors
- Difficulty maintaining friendships
- Academic stress
- School refusal or avoidance
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Body Image/eating issues
Click below to learn more about the treatments we offer for children and adolescents.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Related Issues
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
O.C.D. affects roughly 4% of the general population and is a highly treatable disorder. Most people who show symptoms do so before the age of 18. It is defined by experiencing repetitive, intrusive, negative thoughts (known as obsessions) and performing compulsory behaviors (known as rituals) to reduce the anxiety. There are many different types of OCD and common obsessions include: germ/contamination, worries of not having completed tasks, worries about harming self or others, worries morality/ethical violations, worries about sexual or gender identity and preoccupation with urges to complete tasks or orient things “just right.”
Rituals serve to reduce the anxiety created by the obsessions and can be both behavioral (i.e., hand washing) and cognitive (i.e., thinking opposite thoughts) in nature.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder using Exposure and Response Prevention.
Hair-pulling (Trichotillomania) involves recurrent pulling of one’s hair. It is often experienced as a “mindless” activity and results in unwanted hair loss. It can occur anywhere on the body, with common sites being on one’s scalp, eyelashes, or pubic region.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating hair-pulling using Habit Reversal Training.
Skin-picking (Excoriation) is marked by unwanted and excessive picking at scabs or other parts of the skin, resulting in scars, wounds, or legions. Individuals with skin-picking have often tried to stop unsuccessfully and feel shame about the behavior.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating Skin-picking using Habit Reversal Training.
Anxiety Related Disorders
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive worry about making social mistakes, and/or other people’s impressions of you. Socially anxious people often anticipate that others will judge them negatively. People with S.A.D. often crave social support and feel paralyzed by fear about attending social events or initiating contact with friends and peers.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating Social Anxiety Disorder using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
G.A.D. is characterized by excessive worry thoughts that are experienced as intrusive, repetitive, and difficult to ignore or control. Children and teens with G.A.D. often experience unpleasant negative physical sensations such as muscle tension, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, racing thoughts, hypervigilance and difficulty sleeping. The topic of the anxious thoughts may change from time to time and feel “free-floating”.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Panic Disorder is characterized by sudden surges of intense fear and anxiety that interfere with one’s ability to perform tasks or engage in normal activity. Children and teens with panic attacks often experience rapid heart rates, changes in breathing, light-headedness, difficulty thinking/problem-solving, sweating, and other somatic sensations. In addition, panic attacks can make people feel like they are cut off from reality, disconnected from themselves or “going crazy.” In children, panic attacks may appear as defiance, school refusal or excessive arguing.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating Panic Disorder using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Many anxiety and depression issues can impair sleep quality and interfere with falling and staying asleep. Disruptions in sleep also contribute to greater difficulty controlling emotions and moods.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating Sleep Disorders using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Body Image and Eating Issues
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
BDD is characterized by excessive worry and negative thoughts about one’s body or specific body parts that are incongruent with how others perceive them. Children and teens with BDD often seek to hide their bodies to avoid feeling unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their image. People with BDD will often engage in a variety of behaviors to try to monitor or modify their appearance (excessive checking in the mirror, excessive time spent applying make-up, baggy clothes) and will often avoid social interactions or seek reassurance without experiencing overall improvement in their mood or dysmorphia.
Our clinicians at BPS are experienced in treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Bulimia is an eating disorder in which people often engage in “over-eating” and then purge this food shortly thereafter. People report feeling out-of-control of these behaviors and experience shame afterwards. Many adolescents and emerging teens struggle with their body image and engage in these ineffective behaviors as a means of attempting to control their bodies. These behaviors can also be in response to intense emotions and are a way of trying to manage or reduce the intensity of them.
Anorexia is an eating disorder in which people restrict their caloric intake due to distorted beliefs about their body image and appearance. It is associated with an intense fear of gaining weight and is often maintained by food myths or rules that the person strictly adheres to. Anorexia most often affects people between the ages of 12-25 years old but can be seen in children under 12. People suffering from Anorexia can experience many physical consequences, such as hair loss, amenorrhea (loss of menstrual period), loss in bone density, muscle loss, low blood pressure and slow heart rate, and in extreme cases, death.
While we are not a specialized eating-disorders program, we do have clinicians who are trained in CBT-Enhanced, an evidence-based treatment for Anorexia. Because excessive food-restriction is quite common among teenagers, our clinicians at BPS are equipped to work with many clients struggling with eating issues. However, based on our initial assessment, if your child or teen has a BMI < 18, we may refer you to a higher level of care, where they can receive more specialized services to treat their disorder.
Depression, Self-harm, and Suicidality
Depression is a Mood Disorder that is marked by significant negative changes in affect, behavior, and thoughts. Children and teens suffering from clinical depression often feel excessively sad, experience persistent negative thoughts, and have difficulty sleeping, eating, and concentrating. Often, children and teens with depression will attempt to cope with their symptoms through substances, self-harm, or other ineffective means.
At BPS, our therapists are trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has been proven to be the most effective treatment for Major Depressive Disorder. Our staff are trained in several specific, evidence-based interventions that are predicated on mindfulness, acceptance-based interventions, and solution-focused treatments, such as Behavioral Activation.
Self-harm and Suicidal Ideation
Non-suicidal self-injury involves harming oneself to reduce emotional distress. It often functions as self-punishment, to regulate intense negative emotions, to communicate distress to others and to relieve psychological stress. It is strongly associated with many other psychological disorders, such as depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.
Although self-harm is considered different than suicidal behavior, there is a strong correlation between the two. As the incidence of self-harm increases, the likelihood of suicide attempts increases. Many teens struggle with both self-harm behaviors and suicidal thoughts. Our team at BPS has expertise in treating these high-risk behaviors. We offer a fully adherent, comprehensive DBT program, which is considered the gold-standard of treatment for NSSI and suicidality. Learn more about our DBT program by clicking below.
Other Common Issues
School Avoidance and Academic Issues
School avoidance is a common behavior for children or teens who experience anxiety. Often it is a reaction to anticipated anxiety regarding academic expectations or social interactions with peers. Parents report feeling helpless about how to help their child/teen return to the school setting and the children/teens suffer from lowered self-confidence, increased depression, and anxiety.
At BPS, our clinicians will work with your family and school to help construct a treatment plan to interrupt this maladaptive behavior using cognitive, behavioral, relaxation and parenting strategies.
Gender Dysphoria refers to the psychological distress that arises from the incongruence between a person’s assigned sex at birth and their gender identity. Although it can begin during childhood, many people will not experience it until adulthood. Gender Dysphoria can lead to increased suicidal ideation, self-harm behaviors, social anxiety, depression and eating disorders. Treatment for Gender Dysphoria involves helping clients manage and problem-solve the feelings that arise from the mismatch between one’s anatomy and their identity. The goal is not to make one’s gender identity align with one’s anatomy. Many people find that their Gender Dysphoria is resolved once they can seek gender-affirming treatment, which can include medical interventions such as hormones, surgery, and puberty blockers.