The goal of the Intensive Program is to alleviate OCD and anxiety symptoms while improving childrens' daily functioning and promoting further involvement in school, social, and family activities. Ours is the only program on the East Coast to use a milieu-based intensive treatment model with this age group.
At the forefront of OCD treatment and research, our clinical team uses a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called exposure with response prevention (ERP). The treatment of choice for individuals with OCD, exposure with response prevention strengthens a child’s ability to manage anxiety by gradually facing fears and reducing the repetitive rituals of OCD.
In line with PARC’s values of integrating research and clinical work to provide evidence-based treatment to children and adolescents, we offer a full spectrum of research informed services, including individual, family, group, and milieu therapy. Our clinicians create an individualized, age-appropriate treatment plan for each child. Parents and family members contribute to this plan, starting with the child’s evaluation and continuing throughout treatment.
The Intensive Program for OCD can be an effective care option for youth who have not responded to traditional once a week outpatient treatment or who lack specialized OCD services where they live.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, intrusive thoughts called "obsessions" and ritualized or repetitive behaviors called "compulsions".
Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and selective mutism.
Disorders treated in the intensive program
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
time & LOcation
Treatment takes place Monday through Friday at Bradley Hospital. Program hours depend on a child’s level of care. We offer a full-day partial program with community-based sessions every day, and a half-day program with community-based sessions two days per week. The average length of treatment is approximately eight weeks.
For youth to participate in the program, they must:
Be between 5 and 18 years old
Not need 24-hour medical supervision
Be willing and able to maintain safe behavior during treatment
The child or teen, as well as his or her caretaker(s), must be committed to participating in all phases of treatment.
The Intensive Program for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is designed for children and adolescents who experience significant impairment in their daily lives and functioning due to OCD or obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders.
The program can be an effective care option for youth who have not responded to traditional outpatient treatment or who lack specialized OCD services where they live. Significant impact on children may be defined by school avoidance, withdrawal from family/friends, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and problems eating, sleeping, and bathing.
Individual therapy occurs twice a week to develop and refine the child’s therapeutic plan, as well as practice exposure and response prevention exercises.
The program’s psychiatrist meets weekly with each patient. If a participant is already seeing a psychiatrist, the program psychiatrist will work in consultation with him or her. If a participant is in need of medication, the psychiatrist will work with parents to develop a medication plan.
OCD has an impact on the whole family and with family support children are much more likely to have positive outcomes. For these reasons, families are asked to commit to family therapy once a week. These meetings will focus on enhancing the relationship between parents and their children, as well as other members of the family.
Milieu staff run exposure groups twice each program day during which they assist patients with completing individualized exposure exercises devised by their doctors. Art therapy groups are provided by a certified art therapist twice a week. In addition to exposure and art groups, all children participate in group activities designed to enhance their understanding of and motivation to engage in exposure therapy. Examples of group activities include process groups, team building, and mindfulness.
Milieu staff run individualized exposure tasks in the community and child’s home, which helps reinforce the therapeutic benefits of the program in real-world settings. Visits are provided 5 days per week in the full-day partial program and 2 days per week in the half-day partial program. We ask that at least one parent is available to participate in these visits so that they can learn how to assist their child with the exposures.
We pride ourselves in delivering cutting edge, research-informed treatment. This is an ongoing process and requires careful assessment of treatment outcome. During your child’s first week in the program, a research assistant will approach you to ask if you would be willing to participate in research. Research includes using some of the forms you and your child complete during clinical care for research purposes. Participation in research is completely optional and will not affect the care your child receives in the program.