We specialize in treatment for the following:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Acting-Out Behaviors and Tantrums

  • Risky Behaviors

  • Reactions to Trauma

  • Depression and Anxiety

  • Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Understanding your child’s development is important and can change the way that you handle their behaviors. Children on the Autism Spectrum have problems responding to other people’s emotions and may struggle at home and at school. Experienced clinicians at Thriving Child Center can assess your child for the presence of an Autism Spectrum Disorder using Gold Standard assessment measures and help you decide upon next steps for your child’s treatment tailored to meet your child’s individual needs. Formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder by psychological evaluation is often required by insurance companies and schools to receive accommodations and treatment.

After your child has been diagnosed, behavioral treatment focusing on developing appropriate social interactions can help your child make more friends, avoid behaviors that other people may dislike, and understand his or her own emotions more easily. As the parent, you can learn skills for approaching difficult topics with your child, focusing on your child's unique strengths, and increasing socially appropriate behaviors that improve adjustment and flexibility in the long-run.

Acting-Out Behaviors and Tantrums

Young children can sometimes act out in ways that get them in trouble at home and at school. Common problem behaviors include hitting, refusing to obey or "listen," throwing tantrums, breaking rules, and hurting others. Often, if a child is struggling with appropriate behavior, parents are at a loss of how to help their child. Sometimes behavior problems can get so bad that parents worry that nothing can help!

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a treatment designed to help young children with behavior problems and is also evidence-based for children exposed to traumatic events.  PCIT provides a treatment designed for and proven to work specifically for those children and families.

During PCIT, we will help you learn specialized skills to improve your relationship with your child, implement discipline strategies that really work, and apply those skills in your home and in public. Parents who have tried “parenting classes” before are amazed at the difference they see with PCIT because we are able to tailor the program to fit your family's individual needs and personalities. All of our PCIT therapists have completed extensive training and are officially certified by PCIT International. During treatment we will track your child’s behavior at every session to make sure that your child is improving. If you commit to the program, you will be amazed at how quickly your child's behavior will change.

PCIT is also showing promise as a treatment for improving behaviors and attachment for children on the Autism Spectrum. Dr. Clionsky has published her own research implementing PCIT with children diagnosed with autism and is recognized as an expert in  tailoring PCIT for this unique population. We will be able to tell if PCIT would be the best approach for your child and family.

Risky Behaviors

Older children and teenagers can be hard to understand and can make decisions that are scary to adults around them. Often, children and teens will act out in problematic ways when they are struggling with internal events and difficult emotions. Specialists will teach your teen skills to regulate their emotions, cope with difficulties, express themselves appropriately, and respond to challenges. We will work with your family to help everyone understand one another. Treatment will include strategies from evidence-based treatments including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Reactions to Trauma

When your child has experienced a scary event, such as exposure to abuse, sexual assault, or witness to someone being hurt, it can be hard to know what will help. Sometimes we think we can avoid thinking or talking about it, but the symptoms don’t go away. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is considered by the Child Traumatic Stress Network to be the one of the best treatments for children who have experienced trauma. This is not “talk therapy;” instead it is a direct skills approach that will help you and your child understand the difficulties related to trauma, learn strategies for managing symptoms, and ultimately talk about and move on from the traumatic event. Dealing with trauma is hard, so knowing your treatment will help is important. Children who complete TF-CBT often do not experience any trauma-related symptoms after therapy is over.

Depression and Anxiety

Sometimes children appear to be acting out, but they are really dealing with internal sadness or worry that they cannot express or control. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is helpful treatment that teaches children to change their mood and worries by changing their thoughts and behaviors. One child wrote about her experiences with anxiety treatment at Thriving Child Center.

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) including Hair-pulling and Skin-picking

Sometimes children experience intense urges to pull their hair or pick their skin. These behaviors can be very confusing and stressful for entire families and embarrassing for children. Telling a child to "just stop" acting on these urges is ineffective and special techniques are needed. The psychologists at  Thriving Child Center are all trained by the TLC Foundation for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (www.bfrb.org) in an intervention called Comprehensive Behavioral Treatment (ComB), which helps parents and kids learn strategies to address these behaviors effectively.