Treatments that Work
Behavioral Therapy With Medication
This treatment promotes appropriate behaviors and decreases unwanted behaviors through combining traditional behavioral therapy with psychiatric medications. Behavioral therapy provides caregivers with the skills and techniques needed to reinforce behaviors they want to see more of while decreasing unwanted behaviors. Some of these skills and techniques may include identifying triggers, giving clear commands, and/or using a chart/reward system. The medication management and behavioral therapy will likely be provided by different people.
Intensive Behavioral Treatment [IBT]
Intensive Behavioral Treatment (IBT) is also known as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). IBT uses highly structured teaching techniques to reduce inappropriate behavior in young children with autism while increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior. Therapy is typically delivered on a one-on-one basis by a trained therapist, paraprofessional or parent.
Individuals become more comfortable with a feared situation through using repeated exposures. These exposures can be direct or imagined and should begin with a situation the youth is just slightly afraid of and move towards more highly feared situations. For instance, if a youth is afraid of heights, the first exposure might involve standing at the top of a staircase. This process should move at a comfortable pace for the youth and should incorporate the practice of new coping skills.
Modeling is a technique used by professionals to teach coping skills and behaviors to youth. Modeling is used to demonstrate how and when certain skills or behaviors can be applied to difficult situations. Demonstrations can showcase someone who has ‘mastered’ the desired behavior or someone who is closer to where the client is with learning the new behavior. The situations and behaviors being modeled are adjusted to fit the client’s specific needs.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT]
CBT is one of the most researched and data-supported types of therapy to date. As the name suggests CBT brings together elements from both Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Therapy. CBT helps youth identify how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected. This type of therapy can involve many different hands-on techniques and strategies to help give youth the skills, tools, and knowledge needed to make it through tough situations.
CBT With Medication
CBT with medication pulls together the use of psychiatric medications with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Although CBT and medication management occur at the same time within this treatment, they are not necessarily provided by the same person. As the youth gains new skills and techniques to control their symptoms the psychiatric medication also helps to minimize symptoms by altering neurochemistry. Helping youths learn new skills can be especially challenging when they are very depressed or continually having outbursts. Psychiatric medications can help support the types of behaviors necessary for the learning process.
CBT With Parents Included
This form of CBT teaches both children and parents that their thoughts are related to their feelings and behaviors. Sessions may be together or individual (parent alone, child alone) and are focused on the area of concern. Parents and children are taught the same skills to provide parents the resources to help their child use their skills after therapy is finished.
Trauma-Focused CBT [TF-CBT]
This is a form of CBT that focuses treatment efforts on a traumatic event. TF-CBT as it is called sometimes supports clients in learning coping skills, and in learning how thoughts are related to their feelings and behaviors. Often times this will include writing a story about the traumatic event as well as skills to relax and think about the event differently. There is evidence that this type of therapy works with both children and adults.
Parent Skill Building
This therapy teaches parents how to manage their child’s oppositional behavior. Techniques may include rewards and consequences, time-out, praise, and one-on-one time. The goal of therapy is to teach parents how to increase the amount of preferred behavior while applying consequences to non-preferred behavior.
Parent Skill Building & Problem Solving
Through Parent Skill Building and Problem Solving, parents can learn how to manage their child’s oppositional behavior. Techniques may include rewards and consequences, time-out, praise, and one-on-one time. The goal of therapy is to teach parents how to increase the amount of preferred behavior while applying consequences to non-preferred behavior. Problem solving includes brainstorming, thinking of solutions, choosing a solution, and evaluating the results. This skill is directly applied to a problem which may arise in the course of PMT.
Family therapy aims to identify and change harmful communication and behavioral patterns within families. A child’s ‘problem behaviors’ are viewed as part of a much larger puzzle that extends to multiple family members. A variety of techniques can be used with the end goal of improving relationships, communication, and emotional health for family members. Family therapists can and often do support individual family members in learning helpful skills and tools – while still working with the family as a whole. Family therapy can occur in an office or home and can take weeks or even months to complete.
Multisystemic Therapy [MST]
This treatment is a community and family based program designed to help 12-17 year old youth with disruptive problems. MST promotes positive change by supporting and aligning caregivers within all of the youth’s “systems” (home, school, church, etc.). MST also provides 24/7 crisis consultation services to families. MST can also help teenagers with substance abuse problems or those who’ve experienced traumatic stress. It typically takes around 4 months to complete but this length of time can change depending on the situation.
Working with a therapist to teach your child how to appropriately assert his or her needs with other people is known as assertiveness training. This may involve role-playing different events and interactions in order for the youth to feel confident in their skills.
Intensive Communication Treatment
Intensive communication treatment focuses on improving communication and language skills for toddlers and elementary school aged children with Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This intervention uses the one-on-one modeling of appropriate communication with other structured teaching techniques to support communication and language development in kids with ASD.