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Beautiful Sunset

Evidence Based Therapies

Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE)

talk therapy

SPACE is an active, approach-based therapy that helps caregivers learn how to respond effectively to their child's anxiety.

SPACE teaches caregivers how to change their own behaviors to support their child's recovery. Caregivers also learn communication and validation skills to use with each other and with their other child(ren).

SPACE frequently improves relationships between family members by decreasing the negative impact of youth anxiety on the entire family system.


SPACE sessions are conducted with one or more caregivers and a SPACE-trained therapist, without the youth present. SPACE is currently offered in both individual and group formats.



What SPACE is:
Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) is a short term, parent-based intervention for problematic anxiety in children and adolescents. Research has shown SPACE to be as efficacious as individual CBT for youth, which is the current gold-standard treatment for childhood anxiety! The treatment is designed to be conducted with caregivers only as it directly targets caregiver’s responses to their youths’ anxiety. This is not because caregivers are to blame but rather they can be a big part of the solution! Anxious youth naturally turn to caregivers for reassurance and protection, which over time can entangle caregivers in a challenging cycle. Treatment focuses on helping caregivers to a) respond supportively to their child’s anxiety with a combination of validation and confidence, and b) reduce reinforcing or accommodating their child’s anxiety. This process helps caregivers get out of the common traps of “protecting” their child, “demanding” they manage their anxiety, or feeling lost and overwhelmed with how to help. By exclusively focusing on changing parental behavior instead of youth behavior, SPACE reduces the escalation families often experience when trying to force youth to change course and empowers parents to take action to support their youth.

What SPACE treats:
SPACE is designed to treat a range of anxiety disorders in youth, including OCD, social anxiety, separation anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, selective mutism, generalized anxiety, and specific phobias. As a parent-based intervention, youth involvement is not required for any portion of treatment. This makes SPACE an ideal option for caregivers of youth who are unwilling or unable to engage in their own treatment. SPACE is also a great adjunct for caregivers when their youth is engaged in individual treatment, as SPACE uniquely attends to caregiver behavior. While the target of treatment is the youth’s anxiety, most parents find SPACE improves their own well-being and sense of competence in navigating their child’s anxiety. 
Individual SPACE Treatment: Caregivers of an individual youth meet one-on-one with a TAP provider to learn the SPACE protocol and apply it to their individual youth. Individualized SPACE is currently the best fit for parents of young adults (18-25) at TAP. 
Group SPACE Treatment: The SPACE group at TAP consists of 10, one-hour virtual groups made up of caregivers of anxious youth under age 18. The group covers all of the same material that would be delivered individually, while also allowing caregivers to learn from each other. Spots in our SPACE group are limited in order to ensure individualized attention in the group setting. SPACE groups run on an ongoing basis. Please inquire about the next opening.

To learn more about the TAP Clinic's SPACE program, check out relevant blog posts: Q&A with Dr. Zachary on the SPACE program & Learning More About the SPACE Group
To learn more about SPACE and the research behind the treatment, please visit: see SPACE treatment in action, please check out this 20 minute film

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