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SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions)

Are you controlled by your child’s anxiety or OCD?

  • Are your days consumed by your child’s anxiety or OCD’s demands?
  • Are you and your family stuck following anxiety or OCD’s rules?
  • Is your family limited to what anxiety or OCD will allow you to do?

I’ve been there.  Not only is it exhausting & painful, it’s unsustainable.  I have good news for you though:

SPACE Treatment is here to help you help your child.

SPACE was developed by Dr. Eli Lebowitz at the Yale Child Study Center and has been tested and found to be efficacious in randomized controlled clinical trials.

What is SPACE?


SPACE stands for Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotion and is a parent-based treatment program for children and adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and related problems.

SPACE is a groundbreaking parent-based treatment program developed at the Yale Child Study Center, by Dr. Eli Lebowitz. It has been tested and found to be efficacious in randomized controlled clinical trials.


Who is SPACE for? Who is the patient?

SPACE is designed to treat children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder by supporting parents.  Although children do not attend SPACE sessions – they are the patients!


Who participates in treatment?

Parents (and other caregivers) participate in SPACE treatment sessions. In most cases the child or adolescent does not need to attend the treatment sessions.


Parenting a child with anxiety or OCD doesn’t have to feel helpless.  

SPACE can help.

What does SPACE treat?

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


What happens in SPACE treatment?

Parents who participate in SPACE will learn skills and tools to help their child overcome anxiety, OCD, or related problems.


The treatment focuses on changes that parents can make to their own behavior.  In SPACE, parents do not need to make their child change.


The two main changes that parents learn to make in SPACE treatment are:

  1. to respond more supportively to their anxious child  
  2. to reduce the accommodations they have been making to the child’s symptoms. 


What will it look like?

We will map out how your family functions around your child’s anxiety and look at the accommodations the family makes for the child. We then provide tools and coaching to reduce those accommodations while empowering your child to manage their anxious emotions on their own.


When SPACE treatment is successful children feel less anxious and function better following treatment.

What is an accommodation in SPACE?

At the core of the SPACE treatment is attention to family accommodation or parent accommodations.

The term accommodation addresses all the different changes parents make to help their child feel less anxious. This can be an active effort, such as answering your child’s repeated and unnecessary anxious questions, modifying schedules and routines, or more passive (doing less of something, like not inviting guests to the house to reduce your child’s social anxiety).

Paradoxically, however, accommodations actually reinforce and increase the anxiety long-term.

This does not mean your child’s anxiety is your fault.

… instead …

It means that the parent is a major part of the solution!


To read more about SPACE and how it works visit the SPACE Treatment Resources page.

How to Help your Child with Anxiety or OCD, Interview with Dr. Eli Lebowitz

Breaking Free of Anxiety – A Journey Through SPACE

TED talk: Rethinking Treatment for Child Anxiety and OCD