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Therapy for Grief

What ages does the Center for CBT treat for grief?

Kids and Teens

What might grief look like?

  • A child or teen may be unable to complete a medical check-up, procedure, or other form of medical care without extreme distress or restraint.

  • The child may have trouble at the doctor’s office or at home prior to care or procedures.

  • Behavioral difficulties may arise as a result of distress and potential anxieties relating to the impending or current medical care.

  • A common example of difficulty with medical care is the fear of injections and vaccinations, which is a treatment specialty at the Center for CBT.

How do I know if my child needs treatment?

It is not uncommon for children and teens to experience general distress prior to or during medical appointments. However, when distress is impairing doctor’s visits and completion of procedures, it may be a sign that your child may need some support in coping with these experiences. Potential signs are:

  • Intense and prolonged distress before or during doctor’s visits or procedures.

  • Child expresses distress through verbalizations or behaviors (i.e., screaming, crying, kicking).

  • Child is unable to complete medical procedures or care.

  • Dread associated with taking your child to the doctor. 

  • Medical care and procedures are taking longer than expected.

  • Difficulty with blood draws, vaccines, having weight taken, throat or ear exams, dental care, etc.

What does treatment for grief look like? 


At the Center for CBT, we will begin with an initial assessment of your child to understand the biological, social, and psychological factors that might be impacting difficulties with medical care. Additionally, we will complete a task analysis to understand all the steps that are involved in your child’s medical care to create a plan to gradually go through these steps together to build confidence and reduce anxiety. Assessing any developmental or neurological difficulties with your child will also be very important to treatment. 

Once treatment begins, we will provide caregivers with strategies to help improve behavior and reduce child distress. Behavioral therapeutic techniques are the most effective for children with medical distress; as such, gradual exposure will be the primary tool used to support your child. We will break down the feared medical procedure into small steps that the child can be exposed to in order to improve their ability to tolerate it better. Moreover, cognitive techniques will be used to target the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that are maintaining anxiety.  At times, we may request to collaborate with other treatment providers (i.e., nurses, doctors, behavioral health technicians) to provide additional support for your child (i.e. setting up a practice checkup at their pediatrician's office).

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