Frequently Asked Questions

How long is treatment at the Pediatric OCD Intensive Outpatient Program?

The OCD IOP is nine hours per week. The average length of stay in the group program is between three and six months.

The length of treatment depends on multiple factors, including:

  • The severity of the OCD symptoms
  • Any additional conditions, such as depression, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorders
  • How quickly a child responds to therapy and, if needed, medication

If my child has a co-occurring condition, such as depression, can he or she still participate in your program?

Yes. Many children with OCD have more than one mental health diagnosis.

To attend the OCD IOP, your child or adolescent must have a primary diagnosis of OCD, but our team will also provide care for his or her other conditions.

Co-occurring conditions we treat are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tics
  • Disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD)
  • Developmental disorders

To a schedule an evaluation of your child's symptoms to see if they meet the criteria for an OCD diagnosis, or to discuss OCD treatment options, call 412-235-5354.

How is treatment provided in the Pediatric OCD IOP?

During the school year, IOP treatment sessions are held in the afternoon.

During the summer, sessions are held in the morning.

  • To begin, children and families gather in the family room.
  • Then, group therapists take the patients to the group.
  • The group session begins with a check-in with all members.
  • Next, patients complete exposures (see exposure and response prevention under types of treatment) or a group activity.
  • Midway through the session, there is a 15-minute break in the gym or outside.
  • Children return to the group room to continue exposures or activities.
  • 15 minutes before the end of group, parents come to the group room to assist their children and work with therapists to choose at-home exercises.

Does treatment include parents and family members?

Yes. A family therapist will meet with you to explain OCD treatment. You might also meet with your child’s psychiatrist during this time.

We also offer a weekly parent support group in the family room.

Why group therapy?

  • Feelings of isolation and embarrassment are decreased through meeting others with OCD.
  • Group members offer encouragement to each other.
  • Allows children and adolescents to practice confronting feared situations when around peers, helping these skills to generalize to other settings, such as school.

How successful is exposure and response prevention (E/RP) therapy?

E/RP is currently considered the "gold standard" treatment for OCD. Developed in 1966, E/RP involves gradually confronting and testing fears. When the person realizes that the feared outcome did not happen, his or her anxiety decreases.

Studies that demonstrate the success of E/RP include:

  • The Pediatric OCD Treatment Study (POTS, 2004), the largest treatment study of childhood OCD, clearly demonstrated the benefits of E/RP, both alone and in combination with medications.
  • E/RP that combines family involvement is especially useful for children. Studies suggest that 76 to 88 percent of children who completed this treatment no longer met criteria for OCD at the end of the study (Barnett, Healy-Farrell, and March, 2004).

What follow-up is available?

Following the intensive level of therapy provided in the IOP, we recommend weekly outpatient therapy to continue monitoring symptoms and improve functioning.

We will assist you in finding the right follow-up services for a smooth transition to outpatient therapy.

Will my insurance cover treatment?

We should be able to bill your health insurance to cover the OCD IOP services.

If we are not in your insurer's network of providers, we will work with you and your insurance carrier to make arrangements. Before meeting with your child or adolescent, our registration and authorization staff will contact the health insurance carrier that covers your child to confirm coverage.

How do I make an appointment or referral?

Call 412-235-5354 to schedule your child or adolescent for an evaluation at the Pediatric OCD IOP.

Mental health professionals may also refer children and adolescents by providing the family with the Pediatric OCD IOP contact information.

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