Separation Anxiety Disorder

Advanced Therapeutic Solutions for Anxiety provides therapy for the treatment of Separation Anxiety Disorder.

Separation Anxiety Disorder is an excessive fear or anxiety of being separated from a significant attachment figure. The fear is beyond what would be expected for the individual’s developmental level, and it can occur in all ages. Many think of separation anxiety as only happening with young children. That’s because separation anxiety is common and occurs in most children between 18 months and 3 years of age, and developmentally resolves with time. However, separation anxiety becomes a disorder when it does not developmentally resolve as expected in children. In adolescents or adults, separation anxiety can be triggered by a stressful event, such as divorce, a death in the family, changing schools, or moving away from home. Children and adolescents with separation anxiety disorder may be experienced as demanding, intrusive, and in need of constant attention. Adults with separation anxiety disorder may be experienced as overly dependent and overprotective.

Symptoms may include:

  • Recurrent excessive distress when separated from a major attachment figure or when away from home
  • Just thinking about and anticipating the separation causes excessive distress
  • Persistent and excessive worry about harm coming to the major attachment figure (illness, injury, catastrophe, death) or coming to them (getting lost, kidnapped, having an accident, becoming ill) that will prevent them from being reunited with the major attachment figure

As a result of the fear, a person with separation anxiety disorder may:

  • Avoid leaving the house by themselves; refuse to go to school, work, or elsewhere because of fear of separation
  • Follow or “shadow” the major attachment figure around the house, showing reluctance to be alone (e.g., won’t go upstairs without a family member, won’t go to another room in the house by themselves, won’t sleep alone, won’t sleep away from home, etc.)
  • Seek excessive reassurance from the attachment figure that they are not going to leave (checking to see if the attachment figure is still there, waking up to check if attachment figure is still sleeping nearby, asking excessively if the attachment figure is going to leave, etc.)
  • Have nightmares about their fears of separation
  • Have physical symptoms when separated or with the anticipation of being seperated (headaches, stomachaches, nausea, vomiting); in adolescents and adults, cardiovascular symptoms can occur (e.g., heart palpitations, dizziness, feeling faint)

Call now for a free 30-min Consultation

Clinical Procedures for Separation Anxiety Disorder Evaluation and Outpatient Treatment

Free Phone Intake Consultation

Up to 30-min phone consultation so we can hear about your presenting issue, the symptoms you are experiencing, when they started, the severity of symptoms, and if we are the appropriate place for your treatment. The diagnostic intake process is discussed, and your insurance/billing questions are answered. If the treatment you need is within our scope of services, we begin the scheduling process. If it is deemed that we are not the appropriate place, we will provide you with referrals and resources to help you. We want to make sure to connect you with services, and that includes helping you find treatment elsewhere if that's what you need.



Diagnostic Evaluation

A 90-min diagnostic intake interview with the child’s parents to assess symptoms, collect history, review systems (school, home, community), differential diagnosis, review of prior records, review parents’ families psychiatric histories, and follow up/clarify any questions that arose from reviewing the questionnaires parents/child/teen filled out before the intake session.

Starting at 295

CPT CODE: 90791

Child Observation and Intervention

Up to 60-min live behavioral observation(s) to assess and quantify the degree of anxiety, allowing us to define a baseline. Using a play-based model, additional questionnaires may be filled out for diagnostic purposes. Interventions are tested out, also using a play-based model, to assess the child's response to intervention for treatment planning purposes.

Starting at 195

CPT CODE: 90837

Parent Feedback Session, Guidance, and Treatment Planning

A 1-hour feedback session with parents is held which includes presenting diagnoses, symptom severity, diagnostic rule outs, and discussing the recommended treatment plan. Parents are asked for their specific goals for their child and what they hope to gain from treatment at ATSA. Decisions are made as to whether the child will start with therapy sessions only, allowing for the future addition of psychopharmacological treatment as an adjunct, or whether to start with combined treatment (or in rare cases to start with psychopharmacological treatment before CBT). Parents will be provided guidance on the behavioral techniques to implement at home and in the community with their child, to help maintain and generalize treatment gains. Parents are provided feedback about their child’s behavioral challenges and gains from the initial assessment sessions, and the specific techniques that will be used to successfully help their child overcome his/her specific barriers in the exposure process. Throughout treatment, parents are provided with additional feedback sessions to discuss next steps, including help with transfer of skills outside of the clinic setting.

Starting at 195

CPT CODE: 90846

Child Exposure Therapy Clinic Session

60 min exposure sessions to present the child with the phobic stimulus and begin the process of fear extinction. The key to exposure therapy is to activate new learning, which is done by presenting the child with the phobic stimulus, and assisting the child to approach (vs avoid) the stimulus. Parents are also taught how to facilitate approach coping and reduce enabling avoidance. Your therapist will use modeling, shaping, corrective feedback, and contingent reinforcement with child and parents. Our data show that when parents are involved in treatment, gains are more likely to transfer into the home and community settings.

Starting at 175

CPT CODE: 90837

Child Exposure Therapy in School, Community, or Home Settings

60-min exposure sessions provided in the school, home, or community setting to help transfer treatment gains into these domains. To increase transfer of treatment gains, reduce avoidance of the phobia across settings, and reduce others rescuing the child from approaching the phobia (to rescue them from distress), in-vivo and in-situ exposure therapy is most effective. Not only does the child develop distress tolerance, new learning, and fear extinction, so do the adults in these settings, which helps them reduce rescuing and enabling. We will train school staff on how to appropriately prompt, monitor, and reinforce your child’s approach behavior with guidance via modeling and demonstrating use of skills. Home visits are used to help child and parents use skills at home, and Community sessions provide exposure practice in new settings.

Starting at 185 + travel

CPT CODE: 90837

Call now for a 30-min Consultation



Contact Us