Anxiety is a natural part of life, and it’s normal to feel anxious in response to stress, danger, or uncertainty. In fact, it’s part of an adaptive survival response system that has kept us safe for ages. Anxiety plays an important role in keeping us alert for threats and preparing our body and brain for life-saving action. Although it feels overwhelming and uncomfortable, we wouldn’t want to entirely eliminate it. 

However, anxiety can become a problem when it is persistent, excessive, or disrupts daily life. Too much anxiety can make us see safe situations as threatening, default to hypervigilance and mistrust, or get stuck trying to solve problems that don’t exist. When we attempt to avoid everything anxiety-provoking, we end up avoiding much of life. When left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to a smaller world, strained relationships, and decreased quality of life.

I approach anxiety from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) perspective, which means that I don’t think anxiety is the actual problem - the problem is what we do, or don’t do, when we feel anxious. Anxiety doesn’t just go away, but we can reframe its role in our lives. Accepting that anxiety is outside of our control frees us to focus on the things that are truly within our control. We can choose to live the life we want to live. 

SPACE: Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions

What is SPACE?
Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) is an innovative, evidence-based treatment that empowers parents to help their children overcome anxiety. Instead of focusing solely on the child's symptoms, SPACE aims to create a supportive family environment that fosters resilience and emotional growth. The treatment addresses parental behaviors that may inadvertently reinforce or maintain their child's anxiety. Numerous research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of SPACE.

How is SPACE Different from Typical Anxiety Treatment?
Traditional anxiety treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, often focus on trying to change the child's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In contrast, SPACE emphasizes the role parents play in their child's anxiety experience, providing them with the skills and strategies to create a supportive and nurturing environment. This parent-focused approach acknowledges the powerful influence parents have on their child's emotional well-being and empowers them to take an active role in the treatment process.

Groups are offered based on current client needs. New groups form when at least four members commit to a meeting time. Groups require a minimum of four members and are capped at six. 

SPACE equips parents with a variety of skills and strategies to help their child manage anxiety. Some key skills learned in SPACE include:

  1. Understanding anxiety: Parents learn about the nature of anxiety, its causes, and the factors that can contribute to its persistence.
  2. Reducing accommodation: Parents are taught to identify and gradually reduce the ways they accommodate their child's anxiety, fostering increased resilience and independence.
  3. Supportive communication: SPACE emphasizes the importance of validating and empathizing with the child's feelings while maintaining a supportive stance that encourages the child to face their fears.
  4. Problem-solving: Parents learn to collaboratively work with their child to develop solutions for coping with anxiety-provoking situations.

SPACE typically consists of 10-15 sessions. Each session is highly structured and involves a blend of education, skill development, and practical planning. 

SPACE may be a helpful treatment option for:

  • Parents who are open to examining how they may be contributing to their child’s anxiety
  • Families that are willing to change patterns of behavior and ways of communicating 
  • Kids and teens who are reluctant to fully participate in all parts of treatment
  • Kids and teens who refuse or are unable to attend therapy, or who have not improved with individual therapy

For more information about SPACE, visit