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The SPACE Program: How Parents Can Help Children Overcome Anxiety

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Title:The SPACE Program: How Parents Can Help Children Overcome Anxiety
Recorded on June 8, 2020
Featuring: Eli Lebowitz, PhD and Yaara Shimshoni, PhD

Eli R. Lebowitz, PhD

Professor Lebowitz studies and treats childhood and adolescent anxiety at the Yale School of Medicine, Child Study Center. His research focuses on the development, neurobiology, and treatment of anxiety and related disorders, with special emphasis on family dynamics and the role of parents in these disorders. Dr. Lebowitz is the lead investigator on multiple funded research projects, and is the author of research papers, books and chapters on childhood and adolescent anxiety. Dr. Lebowitz’ work has been recognized by private and public organizations including the Brain and Behavior Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health and The National Center for Advancing Translational Science. He is also the father of three great boys.

Yaara Shimshoni, PhD

Yaara Shimshoni is a clinical psychologist and an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine, Child Study Center. As a member of the Anxiety and Moods Disorders Program, directed by Profs. Wendy Silverman and Eli Lebowitz, Dr. Shimshoni conducts research and provides clinical care for anxious children and their parents. She is currently the lead investigator on a pilot study examining the feasibility of a parent-based treatment she developed for child avoidant and restrictive eating (ARFID). Dr. Shimshon’ research focuses on the development and treatment of anxiety and related disorders, with special emphasis on parent-child relationships and cross-generational influences. 

Webinar Description

In recent years, there has been rapidly increasing interest in the construct of family accommodation in anxiety disorders, generating data on the underlying theoretical mechanisms, associations with anxiety disorders, and intervention research. Today, family accommodation is considered a key factor impacting child anxiety. Family accommodation of child's anxiety refers to changes that parents make in their own behavior to help their child avoid or alleviate distress related to the anxiety disorder. Although it is intended to reduce anxiety in the short-term, family accommodation is associated with greater symptom severity and impairment.

Supporting these theoretical understandings and empirical findings, novel parent-based interventions of child anxiety have shown much promise. The SPACE Program (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) is a theory-driven intervention informed by research into parental entanglement in the symptoms of childhood anxiety and by the biology of mammalian parental behavior. SPACE teaches parents to recognize their accommodating behaviors, and to implement specific plans for reducing the accommodation while maintaining an empathic and supportive attitude towards the child. The treatment also includes tools for: Increasing parents' ability to work cooperatively together; Coping with responses to the reduced accommodation, including anger and distress; And for enlisting the support of family and friends in what can sometimes be a difficult process.

This webinar will present attendees with an overview of family accommodation and its associations with child anxiety and provide an introduction to the SPACE Program. Clinical trials in anxiety and OCD support the ability of SPACE to reduce family accommodation children's symptoms. Results of a recently completed funded randomized clinical trial of SPACE will be presented and discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendees will understand the concept of family accommodation and the role it plays in child anxiety.
  2. Attendees will gain a basic understanding of the theoretical background underlying SPACE.

  3. Attendees will gain an overview of the therapeutic process and learn to apply practical tools.

This webinar is eligible for 1 CE/CME. Read more information on CE/CME here: