Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety & Related Disorders (CUCARD)—Westchester
The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD)—Westchester is dedicated to delivering evidence-based interventions for anxiety disorders, OCD, and related disorders, including tic disorders and trichotillomania. We provide cognitive behavioral treatment, which is focused on modifying behavior and thoughts through active therapeutic interventions.
Along with providing standard individual and group-based outpatient care, CUCARD Westchester specializes in providing accelerated therapy services for individuals requiring a higher level of outpatient care. Patients can be seen up to five times weekly and for several hours per day to treat highly impairing symptoms. A more intensive treatment approach is often appropriate for children, adolescents, and young adults whose disorders are significantly impairing school or work attendance or performance, or the ability to complete daily tasks (e.g., washing, eating, leaving the home). We also provide intensive treatment services for individuals or families who travel from out of town for specialized care.
Below is a list of our current clinical programs.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Related Disorders
CUCARD Westchester provides cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety-related problems in children, adolescents, and adults. Commonly treated problems include excessive worry, obsessive-compulsive disorder, school avoidance, separation anxiety, social anxiety, intense fears, frequent panic attacks, and health-related anxiety. Treatment involves teaching skills to better manage anxiety and actively facing feared situations in a gradual and supportive manner.
Anxiety Day Program
The Anxiety Day Program provides comprehensive treatment for children and adolescents ages 10-17 whose lives are severely impaired by anxiety or OCD. Our evidence-based approach is designed to help youth better manage anxiety so they can get back to their daily lives as quickly as possible. Treatment involves intensive group and individual therapy, psychiatry consultation, educational assistance, and family support. More information about the Anxiety Day Program can be found at www.columbiadoctors.org/childrens-health/anxietydayprogram.
CUCARD Westchester offers psychiatry consultations for children, adolescents, and adults to determine if medication may be appropriate and helpful in treating a mental health concern. We also offer follow-up medication management. Our staff psychiatrist, Adriana Rego, MD, is board certified in child and adult psychiatry and works collaboratively with therapists to provide the best possible care for you or your child.
Accelerated OCD Program
Accelerated treatment programs are offered for children, adolescents, and young adults who are suffering from acute and highly impairing OCD symptoms. Accelerated programs typically involve 2–5 weekly treatment sessions for a period of 1–3 weeks. Treatment focuses on exposure and ritual prevention (EX/RP), in which individuals will gradually and repeatedly face feared situations while learning to more consistently resist ritualistic behaviors.
Treatment of Trauma and Grief
Individual therapy is offered to children, adolescents, and adults who are suffering from symptoms of posttraumatic stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. This may include experiences of traumatic grief due to recent loss of a family member or loved one, or symptoms of traumatic stress following exposure to other types of trauma (e.g., physical, or sexual abuse, medical trauma, exposure to domestic violence). Treatment focuses on coping with and processing these life events in a sensitive and gradual manner. Special care will be taken to monitor patients’ responses to ongoing stress from the pandemic while targeting recent trauma.
Services for Student Athletes
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges for student athletes including time off from sports, uncertainty about upcoming seasons, and concern regarding loss of skill, social network, and athlete identity. We provide time-limited cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety, and our clinicians work with student athletes on tolerating pressure, managing stress, clarifying identity within and outside of their sport, and enhancing performance.
Academic Support Services
CUCARD Westchester offers 1:1 academic support service to children who need additional support with schoolwork. The academic support teacher collaborates with clinicians, guidance counselors, teachers, and families to provide a team approach to supporting children and teens.
CUCARD Westchester provides telehealth services, in which treatment sessions are held online via the use of HIPAA-secure web technology. Telehealth may be appropriate for:
- Services provided during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Individuals and families who do not live near mental health services
- College students
- Home-based interventions, such as exposures or parent training
All telehealth services must take place within New York State.
Parenting Skills Group
Groups are intended to support parents whose children are struggling with anxiety or OCD. Groups focus on supporting youth in facing feared situations, decreasing avoidance or anxiety-driven behaviors, applying appropriate rewards and consequences for children's behavior, generalizing progress across home and school settings, and helping parents with stress management and self-care.
ADHD Evaluation and Treatment
Evidence-based assessment and treatment services for children and adolescents with ADHD include:
- Diagnostic evaluations
- School observations
- Medication consultation and management
- Parent-child interaction therapy
- Parent management training
- Organizational skills training
Because many children and adolescents struggle with both ADHD and anxiety or mood concerns, our clinicians aim to provide flexible treatment that is evidence based and meets the unique needs of each child.