Michael Garron Hospital's (MGH) anxiety clinic specializes in evidence-based individual and group psychotherapy for children and youth up until their 18th birthday who have an anxiety disorder. Additional services include medication follow-up and computer-based interventions.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common and most treatable mental health conditions impacting children and teens.
Founded in 2009, the child and adolescent anxiety clinic is one of only a few government-funded services of its kind in Toronto. We provide treatment for separation anxiety, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and other related conditions.
Although our primary goal is clinical care, we also conduct research into anxiety and are active in providing training for psychiatry residents and other students. Our staff are published in academic journals and have received grants and awards in this field.
Our interdisciplinary team includes child psychiatrists, psychiatry residents and trainees from a variety of other disciplines.
The Anxiety Clinic can be accessed through referral by a primary care physician.
The anxiety clinic wait list for all services opens twice a year on January 1 and July 1. Some services may be open throughout the year. Due to high demand, our January wait list has already closed. Specific services accepting referrals will be indicated below.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that integrates theories of cognition and learning with treatment techniques derived from cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. CBT assumes that thoughts, feelings and behaviour are interconnected. Treatment focuses on thoughts; identifying them, understanding them better and, if interested – changing them. This, in turn, affects the way we feel and what we do.
CBT is an evidence-based therapy and is considered the first line treatment for anxiety disorders, especially in children and adolescents. CBT can be tailored for specific disorders, for example, Exposure and Response Prevention (ER/P) for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) or Trauma Focused CBT (TF-CBT) for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). CBT can be practiced in different ways, for example: group therapy (in which a therapist leads a group of clients through a therapeutic process to overcome a common difficulty) or individual therapy (in which a therapist meets with one client).
THE FOLLOWING SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE AT OUR CLINIC:
Individual CBT tailored for all anxiety disorders including therapy for preschoolers, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), OCD and PTSD.
- Teen Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) (for ages 13-18).
- Cool kids for ages 7-9 (addresses a variety of anxiety disorders).
- Cool kids for ages 9-12 (addresses a variety of anxiety disorders).
- Teen Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) (for ages 13-18).
- Parenting Group for Anxious Preschoolers (P-GAP) for ages 0-6. This group helps parents address an anxious temperament in their young children.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for ages 9-18 (specific age range may vary in accordance with the clients referred at the time).
- Trichotillomania for ages 9-18 (specific age range may vary in accordance with the clients referred at the time).
A one-time meeting with a psychiatrist for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
Medication Follow Up
Recurring visits with a psychiatrist/nurse for the sole purpose of medication adjustment and follow up. These visits are shorter and less frequent than CBT.
Neurofeedback training is brainwave biofeedback. During typical training, a couple of electrodes are placed on the scalp and one or two are usually put on the earlobes. High-tech electronic equipment provides real-time, instantaneous audio feedback regarding brainwave activity. The electrodes measure the electrical patterns coming from the brain, much like a physician listens to the heart from the skin surface. Brain electrical activity is relayed to the computer and recorded.
Ordinarily, a person cannot reliably influence their brainwave patterns because they lack awareness of them. However, when feedback is administered a few thousandths of a second after brainwaves occur, the ability to influence and change brainwaves is regained.
Neurofeedback is offered at the moment in our clinic only as part of a research study. Please contact Dr. Adler directly at 416-469-6580 ext. 3229 for further details.
- ANGST-E (the CBT app for anxiety)
We are about to start a research study testing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) app for the treatment of anxiety in teens. The app is always with you, on your phone, and will guide you through 12 stages of therapy. Each participant will have access to a live therapist through the app as well. If you are between the ages of 13 and 18, you may be eligible for the study. If you’d like to participate, please contact Dr. Adler at 416-469-6580 ext. 3229 or @email and provide your name and contact information.