Effective Exposure Therapy for Children and Adolescents: Do’s and Don’ts (6 hours)

The registration fee includes all taxes. This workshop includes 6 hours of content. 

Anxiety has many benefits, motivating us to put in maximum effort and helping us know what matters to us most. When anxiety persists however, it can interfere with functioning and lead to diagnosable mental health problems in children and adolescents. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common issues found in pediatric clinics today. In addition to long-term anxiety related disorders, untreated anxiety can lead to other problems such as depression and substance abuse. Fortunately, there are good treatments available. Supported by  countless studies, CBT is considered the go-to talk therapy for child and adolescent anxiety.

Exposure is a key ingredient of CBT. The principle is simple: have the child or adolescent engage with situations or objects that they fear  to reduce the fear. The simplicity of the idea is deceptive. The intervention is complex and requires training to learn how to do it well. In this workshop, Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow provides an engaging and practical look at how to do exposure therapy for anxious children and adolescent. Using clinical examples, an interactive format, and ample opportunities for practice during the workshop, participants will learn well-validated strategies to do exposure well. 

The workshop will include a focus on: 

(a) how a strong initial assessment leads to fear ladders that promote treatment success; 

(b) foundational psychoeducational principles needed for exposure; 

(c) the basic exposure approach; and 

(d) variations across diagnostic categories.

About the speaker: Dr. Southam-Gerow

Dr. Southam-Gerow is the author of two important books about child and adolescent treatment: Emotion regulation in children and adolescents: A practitioner’s guide  and Exposure therapy with children and adolescents. Dr. Southam-Gerow has given workshops and invited talks across the US and in Australia on many of the key aspects of child therapy. He is a professor and chair of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where he teaches courses in child therapy and abnormal psychology. As co-founder and co-director of the Anxiety Clinic at VCU—a clinic that provides low-cost services for children and adolescents with anxiety and related problems—he has trained and supervised scores of doctoral students in the nuances of using CBT for anxiety. As a national trainer for PracticeWise, he has led dozens of multi-day trainings and consulted hundreds of therapists with various levels of experience across his more than 20-year career. Dr. Southam-Gerow is an active researcher, who focuses on the dissemination and implementation of psychological treatments, emotion regulation, and treatment integrity. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, the author of dozens of scholarly papers, and the recipient of several NIH research grants.

About this workshop

This workshop was given live, online in May 2020.  The content provided here is a recording of that workshop. The content of this course is provided as a series of brief videos. 

20 Lessons

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Exposure: a bit of background

Questions and answers

Building a fear ladder

Building a fear ladder - part 2

Exposure: the basics

How Exposure Works

Anxiety: a bit of psychoeducation

Trouble shooting (Part 1)

Trouble shooting (Part 3)

Trauma (Part 1)

Trauma (Part 2)

Panic Disorder


Working with the Caregiver

Trouble shooting (Part 2)

Supporting Exposure at Home

Special cases

Time to see how much you've learned!

What's next?