Workshop 3: CBT for Anxiety and OCD in Children and Teens

Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in children, teens, and adults, affecting an estimated 25% of the population. Anxiety and OCD can lead to serious social, behavioral, and learning problems. OCD especially can manifest with a wide range of symptoms, making it an often baffling and complex disorder to assess and treat. Some forms of OCD can be difficult to treat, and comorbid conditions can make treatment more challenging. Yet, with early recognition and effective CBT interventions, up to 80% of youth can successfully manage anxiety and OCD.

In this practical workshop, you will learn to recognize the many faces of anxiety and OCD, and to differentiate anxiety and OCD from depression, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, and autism-spectrum disorders. You will learn to recognize red flags what fuels anxiety and OCD, especially the Vicious Cycle of Escape and parenting traps.

You will learn how to apply CBT for the many forms of anxiety in children and teens, including separation, social and performance/test anxiety, worry, perfectionism, school refusal, specific phobias, panic, and sleep problems. You will also learn to apply CBT for many forms of OCD, including contamination, unwanted intrusive thoughts (violent and sexual), scrupulosity, and just-right OCD, along with cleansing, checking, reassurance-seeking, confessing, repeating, and mental rituals.

Dr. Wagner combines highly effective strategies with many case examples and clinical pearls that can quickly be put to use in practice. You will learn the innovative and child-friendly Worry Hill® CBT approach that is designed to optimize motivation and compliance in children and teens with anxiety and OCD.

Topics covered include:

  • Normal fears across the life span
  •  The many faces of anxiety and OCD
  • Normal vs. problem anxiety
  • Tricky aspects of OCD
  • What’s anxiety, what’s not?
  • Realistic thinking and Socratic dialogue
  • Effects of childhood anxiety and OCD
  • Exposure for various forms of anxiety
  • Red flags for anxiety and OCD
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
  • The fuel for anxiety: The Anxiety Triad
  • Types of ERP: in vivo and imaginal
  • The Vicious Cycle of Escape
  • Practical, ready-to-use, tools for treatment
  • Parenting Traps
  • Collaborating with parents
  • CBT: Evidenced-based treatment
  • Parenting a child with anxiety or OCD
  • Emotional Processing Theory and Inhibitory Learning Theory
  • Realistic expectations: Reducing dropout
  • Challenges in engaging kids and teens in CBT
  • What not to do: Strategies that delay recovery
  • Therapists’ hesitations about exposure
  • How to stop enabling
  • The Worry Hill® approach to CBT
  • Managing meltdowns and explosiveness
  • Assessment of anxiety and OCD
  • When treatment does not seem to be working
  • Cultivating treatment readiness in four steps
  • The art of CBT


Use the detailed handouts provided to follow along as Dr. Wagner presents, and save them to use as an ongoing resource.

*These workshops are not designed for parents or those who are primarily interested in applying CBT in the classroom (see Workshops for Parents and Workshops for School Professionals).

Computer requirements: Webex

To register or for more information, please email Dr. Wagner awagner@anxietywellness.com  with the Workshop number and name in the subject line of your email.