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SPACE: Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions

Parent and Child
What is SPACE Training?

Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) is a parent training developed by Eli Lebowitz at Yale University Child Study Center. SPACE is a treatment performed on parents who are struggling with accommodating their child's anxiety. An accommodation is any behavior that a parent performs to help their child remove their anxiety. Examples include laying with a child for extended periods of time to help them sleep, giving frequent reassurance to child, accommodating child's desire to always be accompanied by parents, etc. 


We know in the treatment of anxiety, that the more anxiety is accommodated, the more it is reinforced, creating a behavioral pattern.  Parents can find themselves engaging in numerous and frequent accommodations when their child is distressed that can be both frustrating and time consuming. SPACE is a training for parents who want to feel less stuck in their child's anxiety, and wish to teach their child to be resilient in the face of anxiety and intense emotions. I think SPACE is particularly compelling because it gives parents the tools to teach kids resiliency, bravery and how to persevere when faced with adversity and anxiety.

SPACE training for parents has equal clinical outcomes in research to the child engaging in the CBT. Given that CBT is the gold standard for anxiety treatment, SPACE is a very encouraging new treatment for childhood anxiety. This treatment is especially notable for young children or children who refuse to engage in treatment. There are is initial research to show that SPACE is effective with young adults struggling with failure to launch, clinically picky eating (ARFID) and children as young as 3 and 4 years old. 

What to Expect - SPACE training is an average of 12 sessions. Treatment is recommended for both parents to participate in sessions for consistency. Treatment goals focus solely on changing the behavior of the parents instead of the child. Sessions are 60 minutes. 

I completed Dr. Lebowitz's SPACE training for therapists.

For more information: SPACE treatment 

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