Psychosocial Services

Celiac disease affects not only your child but also your entire family. It impacts the whole person, including his or her physical, emotional, behavioral, and social health. Our celiac disease team is here to support you and your family as you navigate a celiac disease diagnosis and learn ways to cope with stress related to living gluten free.

We help your child thrive in all areas of life by supporting logistics such as returning to school, playing sports, engaging in social situations, and enjoying extracurricular activities. Our dedicated celiac disease psychologist and social worker are available to support you and your child throughout your journey.

Initial psychosocial evaluation

The goal of the first appointment is to learn how your child is coping with celiac disease and functioning across all important areas of life (e.g., diet, home, school, friends, hobbies), and to assess your child’s emotional well-being. Our celiac disease psychologist works with your child to identify celiac disease–related challenges to better manage stress and symptoms, as well as improve emotional well-being and quality of life.

This evaluation leads to individualized treatment recommendations, including techniques for stress and pain management, treatment adherence, school support, supportive counseling with the social worker and psychologist, celiac disease support groups, peer-to-peer support, and/or additional support through individual and family therapy in the community.

Individual and family therapy

Our dedicated celiac disease psychologist and social worker work with your family from the time of diagnosis through your child’s eventual transition to adult medical care. A variety of psychological techniques and interventions are available to help your child and family adjust to celiac disease.

Your child will learn effective ways to cope with stress, bothersome symptoms (such as abdominal pain), and the many emotions that may arise with celiac disease. Treatment modalities include cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation-based therapies, biofeedback, and mindfulness-based treatments. Many of the treatments target the mind-gut connection—relaxing the body and mind can lead to improvements in physical symptoms and general well-being.

Celiac disease pain management

We can provide nonpharmacological (nonmedicine) techniques and behavioral therapies to help your child cope with pain and other bothersome symptoms. These modalities are often used in conjunction with other integrative therapies.

Adherence strategies

If your child is struggling with following the gluten-free diet, our psychologist, dietitian, and social worker collaborate with you and our medical providers to support adherence (staying on track with a treatment plan) by using creative and innovative strategies.

Specifically, the celiac disease care team can: educate the family and their social network, provide medical letters of support, discuss strategies for eating out and navigating social situations safely, provide check-ins to monitor progress and diet adherence, help find gluten-free food substitutes, and promote self-advocacy as well as psychosocial support.

School support

Our celiac disease social worker partners with you to support your child’s academic growth and success. At the time of diagnosis and throughout your child’s treatment with us, we help families advocate for school accommodations.

Even if your child does not need accommodations immediately at the time of diagnosis, it can be helpful to have something on file with the school (e.g., a 504 Plan) for use in the future. Common accommodations for children with celiac disease include, but are not limited to, permission to leave the classroom to use the restroom, extensions on homework, excused absences, and requests for gluten-free alternatives in the cafeteria and gluten-free alternatives in the classroom.