OCD: Best Treatment Strategies for Children & Adolescents

Kimberly Morrow, LCSW Presenter
Elizabeth Spencer, LCSW-C Presenter
Thursday, March 28: 1:00 PM  - 3:00 PM 
Master Clinician Session 
Meeting Room Level 2 
Room: Superior 



According to the International Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation approximately 4-5 children in every elementary school and up to 20 teenagers in a high school have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, yet very few therapists are trained in how to treat children with OCD. Although OCD in children is often diagnosed between the ages of 8 and 12, and then again in late teen years, it can take 17 years to get the correct diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, more young children are becoming severely affected by OCD after a strep infection or other virus causing PANDAS/PANS, which makes it imperative for therapists in every mental health setting to be able to assess, diagnose and treat this illness. Over 30 years of research has demonstrated that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Exposure and Response Prevention is the treatment of choice. CBT with ERP can be challenging in the best of circumstances much less with a young child who cognitively doesn't understand why we are taking them toward their fear or for a teenager who is resistant to doing what an adult asks. This workshop is geared toward therapists who have an understanding of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and want to learn specifically how to help children and their families who suffer with OCD. In this dynamic workshop, therapists will learn the art of ERP delivery for children through humor, play, and other creative approaches. You will also learn how to involve parents and teachers in the therapy process. Workshop presenters will engage the audience using the same approach they take with their clients: role playing with puppets, playing ERP games, accessing the internet, and in vivo practice.

Learning Objectives

1. Explain anxiety from a neurobiological perspective to children and parents using metaphors.

2. Develop and practice Exposure and Response Prevention in a playful way with children.
3. Demonstrate and teach parents/teachers how to coach a child through anxiety symptoms. 

Audience Level



Children & Adolescents


Diversity - Yes


120 minutes


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Treatment Approach

Exposure Therapy