What is SPACE Treatment?
We are proud to offer SPACE treatment at the Collective. SPACE stands for Supportive Parenting of Anxious Childhood Emotions. Developed by Eli Lebowski and his colleagues at the Yale Child Study Center, SPACE treatment was designed to help children and adolescents who are diagnosed with OCD and anxiety disorders and who are resistant to therapy. In order to become an effective SPACE provider, special training, conducted by Dr. Lebowski and his colleagues, is required. SPACE treatment is unique in that, while it is designed to treat children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and OCD, it is their parents who engage in treatment. Research has shown that SPACE treatment can be as effective as the standard evidence-based treatment for those disorders, namely Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), in terms of symptom reduction.
How Does SPACE Treatment Help Children and Adolescents with OCD and Anxiety Disorders?
SPACE treatment involves teaching parents to change their responses to their child’s symptoms, rather than asking their child to change. SPACE treatment trains parents to respond in a supportive manner while reducing accommodation. Parental accommodation is defined as the behaviors in which parents engage and what they avoid doing, in an attempt to lessen or eliminate their child’s distress and/or anxiety. While parental accommodation is well meaning and instinctual, it actually backfires. Research indicates that parental accommodation is associated with the maintenance of OCD and anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents, as well as increased functional impairment in the diagnosed child or adolescent. SPACE treatment also offers parents psychoeducation about the nature of child and adolescent anxiety, tools to help them to disengage when their child is displaying negative behavioral reactions, and suggestions for how to enlist supporters to help them through the SPACE treatment process.