NEW YORK — Children and adolescents with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety or tic disorders are being treated in a new specialized outpatient clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center — one of the only programs of its kind in the New York metro area.
In addition to a clinic in Manhattan, the Pediatric OCD, Anxiety and Tic Disorders (POCAT) program will offer a unique, day camp–style intensive summer treatment program situated in White Plains, N.Y., at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. The POCAT program is co-led by pediatric psychologist Dr. Shannon M. Bennett and psychiatrist Dr. Justin Mohatt.
“Anxiety is a normal part of growing up, but when it interferes with school, friendships or family life, we recommend parents seek treatment for their child. If a family is going to extreme measures to accommodate their child’s anxiety, or if their child has a problem with involuntary movements or vocalizations, we can offer help,” says Dr. Bennett, a pediatric psychologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.
As many as 20 percent of children may struggle with anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder and specific phobias. OCD (a disorder marked by intrusive unwanted thoughts and associated rituals, habits or routines) and the tic disorders (a set of conditions characterized by involuntary motor movements or vocalizations, including Tourette’s Syndrome) are rarer, affecting between 1 and 3 percent of children. “Children often have more than one of these disorders, so our clinic is set up to serve children with these complex symptoms,” says Dr. Bennett.
The POCAT program offers a range of evidence-based treatment options, including relaxation training, cognitive and behavioral therapy and exposure treatments for children with OCD and anxiety, as well as new and emerging behavioral approaches for tic disorders and trichotillomania.
Treatment programs are customized to meet the child’s needs. “For some children, regular outpatient visits are effective. Other children need treatment multiple days a week,” says Dr. Mohatt, a pediatric psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. “We also offer flexibility in treatment planning, rapid assessment in crisis situations, quick access to your clinicians at all times, and a high level of privacy and discretion.”
POCAT Summer Program
This summer, beginning July 11, children in need of a more intensive treatment experience will be invited to the POCAT Summer Intensive Program, located on the campus of NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester in White Plains. The program will offer morning and afternoon therapy sessions, with a one-hour lunch break, five days a week for one or two weeks.
“Summer vacation is a good opportunity for children to get the therapy they need and make some major progress. In addition, the intensive short-term nature of the program provides an opportunity for families from further away to receive evidence-based treatment that does not interfere with their child’s school schedule,” says Dr. Bennett.
Parents play a key role in the therapeutic process, explains Dr. Mohatt. “We work with moms and dads to ensure that they are aware of the progress their child is making, as well as the specific skills their child is learning. We also provide evidence-based approaches parents can use to support and guide their children. Our goal is for parents to be knowledgeable of therapeutic principles and build on the gains their child makes in treatment.”
For more information, patients may call (866) NYP-NEWS.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer; the synthesis of penicillin; the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S.; the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease; the first indication of bone marrow’s critical role in tumor growth; and, most recently, the world’s first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, visit www.nyp.org and weill.cornell.edu.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division, opened in 1894, is one of the world’s most advanced centers for psychiatric care. NewYork-Presbyterian/ Westchester serves children, adolescents, adults and the elderly with comprehensive outpatient, day treatment, partial hospitalization and inpatient services. In addition to clinical treatment, the Westchester Division is also a center for interdisciplinary medical research and education through its academic affiliate, Weill Cornell Medical College. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. For more information, visit www.nyp.org.