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Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE)

What is SPACE?

SPACE is a short-term intervention focused on helping children and adolescents manage their anxiety. The overall goal of the SPACE Program is to decrease family accommodation of a child’s anxiety by increasing parental support. Whilst the program has a structured process to follow, each individual clients’ circumstances and needs will influence how the therapists works with the family and the timeline of the program.

Some of the main anxiety problems treated with SPACE include:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Generalised anxiety
  • Fears and phobias
  • Panic disorder and Agoraphobia
  • Selective mutism
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

What does SPACE Treatment involve?

The program consists of 12-15 sessions, ranging from 1-1.5 hours in duration. Consultations generally occur over telehealth. Parents will be expected to collect information and provide reflective feedback to the therapist about their progress and their child’s progress. The therapist will provide guidance and support throughout the process. There will be forms to complete and data to be recorded in between sessions.

The initial 3 sessions are weekly appointments. During this stage of the treatment, the therapist will spend time getting to know the parents and the family situation. Parents will develop an understanding of the foundational concepts of the program, including anxiety, differences between support and accommodation and personal boundaries.

The program follows 8 stages. It is likely that one target behaviour will be addressed in the 12-15 sessions. However, the skill set developed by parents will allow to transfer their new strategies to other challenges presented by their child. Following the initial program, parents may request intermittent consultations if needed to address other arising challenges.

Parent & Therapist Role

The therapist is the coach/guide in the relationship. Their role is to provide concepts and strategies, offer suggestions for reducing accommodations, adjust response patterns and answer any questions or concerns.

The parent/s is the implementer and the driving force in the process. Their role in the program is to help their child understand their strength and to better manage their anxiety in preparation for future challenges. SPACE treatment is purely focused on parents’ and not the child’s actions.

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