Adjustment and Stress
All of us experience periodic stress, but sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed, either in response to one specific problem or multiple stressors at once. Therapy can be helpful in these situations, even for those who do not necessarily meet the criteria for a psychological disorder such as anxiety and depression. Many of our clients present with issues related to life stressors, such as transitioning to a different school or job, changes in relationship status, adjusting to a new family situation, and/or feeling overwhelmed by daily stress. Clients may wish to make changes in their lives, but either are unsure how to begin or are having difficulty following through. Sometimes change is out of our control, and we require skills to cope effectively. With techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we discuss and apply skills such as problem-solving, assertiveness training, or motivational interviewing to help clients meet their individual goals.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychological disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. The types of anxiety disorders treated by our practice include, but are not limited to, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Specific Phobias. With youth, we often address school avoidance, which can occur for a variety of reasons. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is shown to be the most effective therapy for anxiety disorders in both children and adults, and our therapists are experts in this approach. CBT involves relaxation strategies, techniques to manage worries and evaluate them more realistically, and learning to face feared situations.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (
ADHD) can be a challenging process. At Alvord, Baker & Associates, therapists understand the needs and are knowledgeable about treatment options for children and adults with both inattentive and impulsive types of ADHD. Our therapists help families succeed by understanding various interventions and enhancing the structure in home, school and work environments. Therapy for ADHD often includes work with the parents, youth, and schools in order to achieve a student's full potential. Therapists also facilitate parent support groups for the Montgomery County chapter of CHADD
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders, are a group of conditions that are characterized by deficits in social communication and/or social interaction, as well as restrictive and repetitive behaviors and/or interests. The term “spectrum” recognizes that children in this category can present with a wide range of symptoms and impairment. We offer psychological assessment and therapy for children with ASD and their families. Therapy is individualized to each particular child, but can include behavioral programs to help the child better navigate the environment, parenting work, and social skills development to address social and emotional challenges. Additionally, children with high functioning ASDs are often encouraged to participate in our group therapy program.
Disruptive disorders, including Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder, can pose significant challenges for children, adolescents, and their parents. If left untreated, youth with these disorders are vulnerable to difficulties with academics, employment, and relationships. CBT for behavior disorders typically includes work with parents to discuss personalized behavioral management techniques that address acting out behaviors as they occur and prevent future negative behaviors. Youth may also benefit from learning emotion regulation and anger management techniques. At times, school involvement is an important part of treatment to address school related concerns.
Chronic Medical Illness
We understand that coping with a chronic medical illness can impact an individual’s functioning at school, home, and with friends. We provide strategies and skills from a cognitive behavioral perspective to help our clients cope and manage a number of longterm medical problems.
While everyone feels sad from time to time, clinical depression can be a debilitating and serious condition. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in relieving depression in both children and adults. CBT for depression typically involves working on how thinking impacts feelings, behavioral activation, and improving connections with other people. Each of our therapists has the knowledge and experience to assess the level of depression, make safety plans if necessary, and address the specific areas of life affected.
We recognize that positive social relationships have a myriad of benefits including improved coping, strengthened physical health, and enhanced ability to achieve our potential. Some of our most important relationships are with our family members. We understand that across the lifespan, a number of factors impact family relationships including stress, life events, psychological or emotional concerns, and/or negative patterns of interacting. We provide family therapy to help improve communication among family members as well as strengthen family bonds. Family therapy can include as few as two family members or an entire family. The therapist develops a treatment plan to determine the approach that best fits the individual goals of each family.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive and intrusive thoughts, images, doubts or impulses (obsessions) and accompanying ritualistic thoughts or actions (compulsions) aimed at relieving distress related to the obsessions. It's important to recognize that some behaviors, such as checking that your stove is off after cooking, are normal and often helpful. Obsessions and compulsions reach the level of "disorder" when they cause significant distress, are excessive and time-consuming, and lead to significant interference in one's life. While the content of the obsessions and compulsions may change over time, OCD typically does not go away on its own without treatment. Our therapists at Alvord, Baker & Associates are experienced in Exposure/Response Prevention, a component of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is the most effective treatment for OCD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may develop after an individual experiences a terrifying ordeal with the potential for serious harm to one's self or others. Traumatic experiences can include, but are not limited to, serious accidents, identification as the victim or witness of a crime or natural disaster, or child abuse. It's natural to feel frightened and upset after a trauma, but if these feelings linger for weeks and/or months, it is important to seek treatment. Our therapists are experienced in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for PTSD, which is an effective therapy for both children and adults. CBT for PTSD includes anxiety management techniques such as relaxation, targeting misconceptions of danger, and decreasing avoidance through exposure tasks.
Sleep Disorders, including insomnia, night waking, and bedwetting, are common among children as well as adults and can lead to significant distress and impairment. We utilize a cognitive-behavioral approach to target sleep problems both independently and within the context of psychological disorders such as behavioral problems, depression, and/or anxiety. Our techniques include a careful assessment of the issue and implementation of strategies to improve the quality and duration of sleep.
Tic Disorders and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (Hair Pulling, Skin Picking)
Tic disorders (e.g., motor tic disorder, vocal tic disorder, and Tourette’s Disorder) are diagnosed among individuals who experience sudden, recurrent movements or sounds that are difficult to control. Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) include various conditions such as compulsive hair pulling (trichotillomania) and compulsive skin picking (excoriation disorder). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for tic disorders and BFRBs typically includes Habit Reversal Techniques. This evidenced-based intervention involves two steps. First, the clinician conducts a thorough evaluation to determine environmental factors that exacerbate the tic or BFRB. The therapist then recommends strategies that either eliminate these factors or lessen their impact (function based environmental modifications). The second step of treatment involves teaching and practicing behaviors that are incompatible with the tic or BFRB (i.e., competing responses), to create an increased sense of control. CBT for tics and BFRBs may also incorporate motivational techniques such as social support from family members and a behavioral reinforcement program.