Articles by Ellen Braaten, Co-Director

Ellen Braaten, Ph.D. is co-director of The MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, and director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. She is co-author of the book Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up, which was released in August 2014.

 To learn more about Ellen, or to contact her directly, please see Our Team.

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: A Closer Look

September 18, 2019

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Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: A Closer Look

 Jenny was a 15-year-old high school sophomore who had suffered from depression for six months. Her pediatrician referred her to a psychiatrist, who prescribed Prozac for her depressive symptoms. However, the psychiatrist thought she might also benefit from Cognitive-Behavior Therapy  (CBT) because of the research showing that cognitive therapy used along with medication is more effective […]

How to Prepare for a Parent-Teacher Conference if Your Child Has ADHD

September 11, 2019

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How to Prepare for a Parent-Teacher Conference if Your Child Has ADHD

It’s that time of year again. Kids are back in school. Teachers are getting to know your child, and your child is adjusting to the routine of being a student. Is a parent-teacher conference far behind? If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, these conferences can fill you with dread. You might wonder if your child is paying attention at […]

Q+A: What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder?

August 28, 2019

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Q+A: What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder?

My 4-year-old was just diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder. What is it? You may already have guessed from the name of the diagnosis that separation anxiety disorder has something to do with the anxiety a child feels when separated from parents or caregivers. It occurs in its worst form when a child reaches school age, but […]

What Is Family Therapy?

August 21, 2019

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What Is Family Therapy?

Family therapy emphasizes the idea that a child lives and grows in relationship to others, particularly in relationship to members of his or her own family. There are many different family therapy approaches. They are too numerous to list here, but nearly all of them assume that the child’s “problem” doesn’t just reside with the […]

Q+A: Should I be nervous? My preschooler’s teacher recommended I have him evaluated for an anxiety disorder..

August 14, 2019

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Q+A: Should I be nervous? My preschooler’s teacher recommended I have him evaluated for an anxiety disorder..

My 3-year-old son Justin has been in preschool for five months and he won’t stay unless I sit in the classroom with him. His teacher told me today that this isn’t fair to the other children and that I need to get him evaluated for an anxiety disorder. How concerned should I be about her […]

Q+A: How Do I Find a Therapist for My Child?

August 2, 2019

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Q+A: How Do I Find a Therapist for My Child?

My child has anxiety and I’m looking for a therapist. How do go about finding a good one? This is an extremely important question, and while there are no absolute rules, here are some guidelines that can help inform your process: Word of mouth is often the best source of information. Pediatricians, school psychologists and […]

Trastorno de Ansiedad Generalizada

July 31, 2019

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Trastorno de Ansiedad Generalizada

Joyce de diez años siempre fue una niña un poco preocupada. Incluso a los dos años, ella parecía ansiosa devez en cuando, especialmente cuando su vida era un poco estresante. Una niñera nueva, una fiesta de cumpleaños ruidosa, o unas vacaciones podían causar nerviosismo y episodios de llanto, pero estos síntomas generalmente desaparecían rápido.   Las cosas cambiaron el verano antes de […]

Q+A: What Are the Best Treatments for ADHD?

July 24, 2019

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Q+A: What Are the Best Treatments for ADHD?

ADHD is a disorder that affects the brain and behaviors. There is no known cure, but there are many good options to help kids manage. For children older than age 6, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends both behavior therapy and medication as good options, preferably together if symptoms are moderate to severe. For younger […]

Q+A: Is ADHD Overdiagnosed?

July 17, 2019

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Q+A: Is ADHD Overdiagnosed?

I’m often asked if ADHD is “overdiagnosed.” Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common – and some might argue one of the more impairing – childhood disorders.  Approximately three to five out of every 100 school-aged kids meet criteria for ADHD. Interestingly, research has shown that ADHD is both over and […]

Q+A: My child was diagnosed with ADHD and I don’t see problems at home. Why is school so tough for him?

April 26, 2019

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Q+A: My child was diagnosed with ADHD and I don’t see problems at home. Why is school so tough for him?

My child was diagnosed with ADHD.  He’s taking medication and I don’t see many problems at home, but his teacher constantly complains about issues at school. Why is school so tough for him? Children with ADHD can have a tough time in school because their challenges with attention and organization tend to interfere with their […]