The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, New York, NY and Westchester, NY (Outpatient)
The School Refusal Program offers an accelerated treatment program for children and adolescents who are struggling to attend school consistently due to anxiety. The School Refusal Program begins with a clinical psychologist interviewing the child and parents in order to determine the nature of the child's problems. Next, depending on the history of the child's problem with the school, a review of the child's school records as well as a consultation with the child's school may occur. Next, our staff psychologist will consult with the school refusal clinical team to review all of the information together and make the determination as to whether the School Refusal Program would be appropriate for the child and family as a treatment option. At times, referrals for neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation may be requested, if there is a suspicion of a specific learning issue affecting the child's ability to attend school comfortably.
Treatment is tailored to match the child's specific needs, with the immediate goal of returning the child to school as quickly as possible. Youth will attend weekly individual therapy sessions targeting consistent school attendance. Depending on the child's concerns, individual treatment may involve gradual exposure to feared situations, skills training, anxiety management training, or behavioral activation to combat depression. Parents are also involved in sessions as necessary to learn strategies for supporting their child’s progress.
In CUCARD Westchester’s School Refusal Program, parents attend weekly parenting workshops to learn the tools and behavior management skills necessary to facilitate their child’s school attendance. The program offers also additional support to families including school consultation, school visits, and individual case support. Clinicians are available “on-call” to provide phone coaching to families on school mornings (7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.), and participating youth are able to complete schoolwork in the clinic with guidance from CUCARD Westchester staff if they are unable to attend school on any given day. Phone 212-342-3800