The Youth Anxiety Center offers an enhanced form of cognitive behavioral therapy called the Launching Emerging Adults Program (LEAP). This new treatment expands on traditional cognitive behavioral exposure therapy by integrating skills needed to help the millennial generation thrive in adulthood. Therapy includes specific progressive modules added as appropriate to engage parents and young adults to work together and meet the developmental goals of young adulthood. The young adult will learn to manage anxiety through individual and group therapy during the same period the parents and their child are assisted in setting goals and communicating.
“Failure to launch” is one of the issues addressed by the LEAP program, which helps families and their children make the transition to independent adulthood. Through the LEAP program therapists assist parents in letting go of their emerging adult and helping them to encourage their son or daughter to take on the challenges of becoming independent.
The Youth Anxiety Center offers:
Patients are treated during therapeutic sessions between a therapist and an individual. The focus of treatment is to improve symptoms that significantly interfere with at least one area of interaction such as those with family, peers, school, or in the work place. The goals, frequency, and duration of outpatient treatment vary according to individual needs and the response to treatment.
In addition to individual outpatient therapy, individuals are offered the opportunity to join group therapy sessions with peers.
The partial hospitalization program at Weill Cornell/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital offers specialized, intensive treatment to teens and young adults with severe and debilitating anxiety. The goal is to achieve rapid stabilization of acute symptoms with an emphasis on restoring the patient’s health and preventing future setbacks while the patient continues to reside at home. These short-term, full-day treatments are unavailable elsewhere on an outpatient basis and serve as an alternative to, or a step-down from, an inpatient hospitalization program. Treatments include individual therapy, group therapy, parent and family meetings, and medication management. Aspects of the program include education about psychiatric illness and its treatment, behavior modifications, and coping skills that generate solutions to problems at home, at work, or during life transitions.
The multi-disciplinary treatment team in the partial hospitalization program will coordinate with any existing outside providers to ensure a smooth transition back to regular outpatient care. When a patient leaves the partial hospitalization program, a follow-up treatment plan is provided to enhance continued symptom relief and improved functioning.
Funding provided by the Youth Anxiety Center to the partial hospitalization program has enabled additional psychologists to join the multi-disciplinary treatment team. Drs. Angela Chiu, Avital Falk, and Michelle Pelkovitz are experts in research-supported treatments for anxiety, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and exposure and response prevention for obsessive compulsive disorder.
In addition to providing specific treatment services to older adolescents and young adults with anxiety in the partial hospitalization program, the clinicians train psychiatry residents and social workers in these treatment modalities.
The Youth Anxiety Center offers a six-week educational program for parents of anxious emerging adults.
This group is ideal for parents whose emerging adults are experiencing distress and anxiety at the thought of leaving home. Parents are provided with skills to help their son or daughter. More important, parents are educated about when to allow their child to try to independently overcome obstacles and fears, so they may successfully transition into independent and confident adulthood.
The Youth Anxiety Center offers a four-to six-week group therapy program designed to educate teens and young adults who are preparing to leave for college.
During this group therapy, students are educated about anxiety and trained in how to use new techniques and tools to best manage their anxiety and time. These young people learn how to manage any difficult emotions and frustrations they may experience in their new environments away from home. Techniques include role play and real-life rehearsal. For instance, a student under a therapist’s supervision may go to a local college medical center to make an appointment with a doctor or find a pharmacy that could fill his or her monthly prescriptions. The role play also includes having professors from Columbia University come to therapy sessions so that students can practice interacting with them. Ultimately, the student learns ways to successfully manage these previously stressful situations.
Yael Warach, Coordinator at the Columbia University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders