Elucidating developmentally sensitive mechanisms of cognitive behavioral therapy

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) is hosting a free webinar, “Developing New Treatments for Childhood Anxiety and OCD: Can Cognitive Control Help Kids Grow Out of Illness?” on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 2:00 pm EST. The presenter will be Kate D. Fitzgerald, M.D., Ruane Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Fitzgerald is also a recipient of two BBRF Young Investigator Grants. The webinar will be hosted by Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and host of the public television series Healthy Minds.

Rates of anxiety and OCD have increased significantly in children and adolescents. Can cognitive control help kids be less anxious and grow out of OCD? Dr. Fitzgerald’s clinical and research expertise is in pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorder. She will discuss her work and its implications for developing new treatments.

Dr. Fitzgerald has studied atypical development of neural circuitry devoted to “task control” — an executive control mechanism that enables an individual to suppress irrelevant automatic behaviors such as the obsessive behaviors seen in OCD. She will discuss her research to elucidate developmentally sensitive mechanisms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that might make it possible to target task control differently for patients of different ages. Dr. Fitzgerald is also studying a play-based cognitive training strategy designed to reduce early childhood anxiety by increasing brain capacity for cognitive control.