When a child is grappling with a mental health issue, the initial signs may be difficult for a parent to pinpoint and even harder for the family to address. Often, symptoms of anxiety, mood and behavioral disorders can be mistaken for the typical “ups and downs” of the preteen and teenage years, and children may be reluctant to talk about the full extent of their struggles.
It’s important to seek professional help for your child if you notice one or more of the following signs:
a persistently sad or hopeless mood
chronically low self-esteem and a sense of “worthlessness”
difficulty coping with, or moving past, stressful or traumatic events
difficulty developing and sustaining healthy relationships
extreme fear of, or stress during, situations that require social interaction
inability to pay attention or control behavior
inappropriate outbursts of anger toward parents, teachers or other authority figures
intense, unrelenting worries and fears
ongoing or extreme irritability
participation in high-risk behaviors
·problems with learning, memory or mental focus
withdrawn behavior over a prolonged period
The Psychosocial Treatment Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital primarily uses therapeutic approaches that have been formally tested over time, including:
- individual psychotherapy
- family therapy
- group therapy
- evidence-based treatments
- parent guidance skills
The use of these therapies is supported by extensive research data, demonstrating their effectiveness in helping many patients diagnosed with:
The Psychosocial Treatment Clinic does not prescribe psychiatric medications as part of our patients’ therapy. However, if your child is found to have a condition or circumstance that may be helped with drug therapy, we will refer you to Boston Boston Children’s Psychopharmacology Clinic to decide how best to add medication to his existing talk therapy regimen.
We are dedicated to helping children and adolescents not only to overcome the symptoms that are interfering with their daily lives, but also to give them, and their families, the tools they need to lead a richer, healthier life in the long term.
Boston Children's Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry is recognized for its pioneering mental health research. Researchers in our Psychosocial Treatment Clinic are engaged in several projects in the areas of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Some of our researchers, and their individual project areas, include:
- Eugene D'Angelo, PhD, co-director of Boston Children’s Psychosocial Treatment Clinic and chief of the Division of Psychology, who is examining how certain factors in mental health treatment can make therapy more effective and prevent the return of symptoms later in a child's life
- Stuart J. Goldman, MD, who studies the wide range of depressive disorders affecting children and adolescents and identifies risk factors for teen suicide
- Roberta S. Isberg, MD, who focuses on the practice of dialectical behavior therapy—a combination of traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy and Buddhist meditation practices—in treating depression and other mood disorders
Clinical trials at Boston Children's
A significant part of our successful treatment comes from our commitment to research—and to advancing the frontiers of mental health care by conducting clinical trials.
Boston Children’s coordinates hundreds of clinical trials at any given time. Clinical trials are studies that may involve:
- evaluating the effectiveness of a new drug therapy
- testing a new diagnostic procedure or device
- examining a new treatment method for a particular condition
- taking a closer look at the causes and progression of specific diseases
While children must meet strict criteria in order to be eligible for a clinical trial, your child may be eligible to take part in a study. Before considering this option, you should be sure to:
- consult with your child’s treating physician and treatment team
- gather as much information as possible about the specific course of action outlined in the trial
- do your own research about the latest breakthroughs relating to your child’s condition
If your physician recommends that your child participate in a clinical trial, you can feel confident that the plan detailed for that study represents the best and most innovative care available. Taking part in a clinical trial at Boston Children’s is entirely voluntary. Our team will be sure to fully address any questions you may have, and you may remove your child from the medical study at any time.
To search current and upcoming clinical trials at Boston Children’s, please visit:
To search the National Institutes of Health’s list of clinical trials taking place around the world, please visit: