Anita Saltz Institute for Anxiety & Mood Disorders

Anxiety and mood disorders are among the most common mental health problems affecting children and teenagers. Although highly treatable, many youth do not get the help they need. But the distress that affects a child's happiness deserves our best efforts to help.

The Anita Saltz Institute for Anxiety and Mood Disorders at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, provides programs that can help you, your child, and your family.

Dr. Ron-Li Liaw and Patient at the Child Study Center

Dr. Ron-Li Liaw talks to her patient at the Child Study Center.

Anxiety disorders take various forms, and their manifestations differ with age. Depressed children and teenagers may be irritable and moody, complain of feeling bored all the time, and have less interest in activities that they used to enjoy, such as playing sports or spending time with friends. In all instances, a child's discomfort is excessive and disproportionate to the situation.

Anxiety disorders include separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Other related difficulties include selective mutism and disruptive and oppositional behavior.


A member of our specialty team meets with your family to understand your child's behavior and specific difficulties, including any relevant diagnoses, and to provide you with a treatment plan for your child that best meets your family's needs.


Our services are based on scientific research that shows which treatments are most effective for childhood anxiety and mood disorders. We tailor the therapeutic approach to meet the specific needs of your child. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication are the two most commonly used treatments.

Specialized Programs and Group Treatments

The Child Study Center offers a variety of specialized programs including:

Explorers Summer Program

Through group treatment, children, adolescents, and young adults learn to confront their fears and worries together with peers in an interactive and supportive way. They practice new skills in a real-world environment through fun and engaging exposures out and around New York City.

We discuss specific treatment goals with parents throughout the program. We also teach them about obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety, and the skills their children and teens acquire. For more information or to register, please contact Rebecca Berry, PhD, at 646-454-4927 or

Help for Shy and Socially Anxious Youth

Our cognitive behavioral social phobia group called BOOST: Bringing Out Our Shy Teens is offered to teenagers experiencing shyness and social anxiety. The program lasts 14 to 16 weeks.

Workshops for Parents of Anxious Children

We host a series of four workshops for parents who have anxious children or children who are already receiving individual therapy for anxiety. The sessions are designed to provide parents with information about childhood anxiety as well as strategies to help children cope with their fears.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is used to treat teens who have difficulty regulating their emotions and behaviors. The ultimate goal is to help your teen build the skills necessary to both envision and create a meaningful life that feels worth living.

DBT may be an effective therapeutic option for teens dealing with suicidal thoughts, self-injuring behaviors, substance abuse, and difficulty regulating emotions, as well as those who engage in frequent and intense conflict with peers and adults, and have an unclear sense of who they are or their life’s direction.

Treatment includes individual therapy and multifamily skills group meetings. This group format includes multiple sets of teens and their parents meeting in a classroom atmosphere. They learn a variety of skills, including how to be more mindful and aware of emotions, and how to tolerate distress, maintain healthy relationships, and manage conflict.

Intensive Treatment for Anxiety (Including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

We can develop an intensive treatment program for your child. Research has demonstrated that increased frequency and length of sessions can be effective in achieving progress and reducing symptoms of anxiety. Intensive treatment programs are often developed for OCD and phobias, too.

Intensive Program for School Refusal and Avoidance Behavior

School refusal is defined as refusal to attend classes or difficulty remaining in school for an entire day without a support person present. For adolescents who exhibit these behaviors, our experts target emotional dysregulation and anxiety symptoms and create practical plans that aim to reintegrate preteens and teens into school.

The program begins with a comprehensive assessment to create an individualized treatment plan, and includes daily services to help families return to school. Our individual and group evidence-based interventions for school refusal behavior include cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT, and acceptance and commitment therapy.

For more information, please contact Randi Pochtar, PhD, at 646-754-5000 or

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression

Interpersonal psychotherapy aims to reduce symptoms of depression by increasing social support and improving your child’s ability to manage his or her situation. In the first phase of treatment, the therapist links your child’s mood to changes in interpersonal situations such, as relationships with others.

The therapist works with your child to figure out what triggers his or her depression. It may be grief following the death of a loved one, changes in life circumstances, conflict or changes in important relationships, or social skill deficits. When the depression trigger has been identified, the therapist helps your child develop skills that can improve his or her ability to manage and improve interactions with others.

Contact Us

To schedule a consultation or to learn more about our services, please contact our care management team at 646-754-5000 or email us at