Psychosocial Services

IBD affects not only your child but your entire family. It impacts the whole person, including physical, emotional, behavioral, and social health. Our IBD team is here to support you and your family as you navigate an IBD diagnosis and learn ways to cope with stress related to IBD. 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 IBD 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 IBD and functioning across all important areas of life (e.g., home, school, hobbies), and to assess your child’s emotional well-being. Our IBD psychologist works with you to identify IBD-related challenges and 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, IBD groups, and additional psychosocial support through individual and family therapy.

Individual and family therapy

Our dedicated IBD psychologist works with your family from the time of diagnosis through your child’s transition to adult IBD care. A variety of psychological techniques and interventions are available to help your child and family adjust to IBD. You will learn effective ways to cope with stress, bothersome symptoms (such as abdominal pain), and the many emotions that may arise with IBD. 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.

IBD pain management

We are able to 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.

Group sessions

Group sessions are offered for youth with IBD to support social connection and teach skills to support stress and symptom management. Groups are organized to allow children and young adults to meet others in their peer group.

Adherence strategies

If your child is struggling with taking medications or following a specific diet, our IBD psychologist and social worker collaborate with you and our medical providers to support adherence (staying on track with a treatment plan) using creative and innovative strategies. Additional support is available for children who have a fear of needles to help them better cope with shots, blood draws, infusions, surgeries, and diagnostic procedures.

School support

Our IBD psychologist and social worker partner with you to support your child’s academic growth and success. At the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment, 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 IBD include, but are not limited to, permission to leave the classroom to use the restroom, modified homework schedules, permission to eat in class, and a quiet place to work.