Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services at Children’s Hospital Colorado


The Psychiatry and Behavioral Health team provides a full range of behavioral and mental health services, from creative arts therapy to intensive care programs. In each of our specialty programs we offer the following services:

  • Diagnostic evaluations
  • Individual, family and group therapy
  • Parent counseling and education programs
  • Consultation with other departments and services at Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Educational programs for mental health and child healthcare professionals

Eating Disorder Program

The Eating Disorder Program provides a continuum of services, ranging from outpatient evaluations and day treatment services to inpatient hospitalization. Services are provided jointly by the Children's Colorado Department of Adolescent Medicine.

Learn more about the Eating Disorder Program at Children’s Colorado.

Medical Day Treatment Program

This is a day treatment program for medically compromised children ages 7 to 21, whose medical needs cannot be met in a regular school setting. Participants receive medical, nursing, academic and psychosocial support daily, in an outpatient setting. The conditions treated vary from chronic to acute and the length of stay is tailored to the needs of the child.

Learn more about the Medical Day Treatment Program at Children’s Colorado.

Neuropsychiatric Special Care (NSC) Program

This is an inpatient and day treatment program that serves children ages 3 to 17 with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or neurodevelopmental disabilities, who have co-morbid medical and/or psychiatric conditions.

The NSC Program is one of the few programs in the western region of the United States that treats children and adolescents with autism and/or developmental delays. The NSC was developed to accurately and comprehensively assess the complex psychiatric and/or medical needs of children with developmental disabilities in order to effectively address the chronic or escalating symptoms of behavioral acting-out that can lead to repeat emergency room visits, inpatient hospitalizations or out-of-home placement.

Learn more about the Neuropsychiatric Special Care (NSC) Program at Children’s Colorado.

Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program

The Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program provides individual, group and family services throughout Children's Colorado. As part of the program, creative arts therapists use the arts to help children work through their problems, deal with pain and express themselves.

Therapists collaborate with clinical teams to work toward psychiatric or medical treatment goals using the creative arts as a medium. Art, music, dance, movement and yoga become tools for communication, emotional release and ultimately, healing.

Learn more about the Ponzio Creative Arts Program at Children’s Colorado.

Psychiatric consultations (PSYCLES and Project CLIMB)

PSYCLES is a multidisciplinary team consisting of child psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers and creative arts therapists. This team provides evaluation for all patients at Children’s Colorado who present with psychiatric needs. Urgent evaluations are completed during regularly working hours. PSYCLES staff members consult with all medical services at Children's Colorado at the request of the child’s physician.

Project CLIMB, a mental health program in the Child Health Clinic, provides teaching, consultation and interventions in the Child Health Clinic. Clinicians can coordinate admissions to the Outpatient Specialty Clinics, Intensive Outpatient Program, Day Treatment Programs, and Intensive Services Program.

Learn more about psychiatric consultations at Children’s Colorado.

Emergency psychiatric consultations

Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) provides consultation and assessment of psychiatric patients presenting to the emergency room at Children’s Colorado. PES clinicians additionally consult urgent callers from the community, such as parents and healthcare providers, to determine appropriate mental health interventions and help link families and patients to the recommended level of care.

Learn more about emergency psychiatric consultations.

Psychiatry Outpatient Specialty Clinics

We offer a series of outpatient specialty clinics for children and teens aged 5 to 17, and their families, focusing on children and teens with emotional and behavioral problems, as well as patients with any psychiatric diagnosis or a combination of illnesses. Children with both medical and psychiatric needs are a clinic specialty. Support groups for siblings and parents are also available.

The clinics are staffed by child psychiatrists, child psychologists, social workers, nurses and trainees, and focus on several areas of care, including disruptive behavior disorders, mood and psychotic disorders, autism and developmental disabilities and stress, anxiety or medical illness. Each clinic offers specialty evaluations; individual, family and group therapies and medication recommendations.

Learn more about Psychiatry Outpatient Clinics at Children’s Colorado.

Intensive Outpatient Psychiatry Program (IOP)

This program serves children and adolescents with a broad array of psychiatric concerns, and their families, including:

  • Patients with emotional and behavioral disorders who have been recently discharged from inpatient units or day treatment programs
  • Youth who have been to the emergency room recently for psychiatric issues
  • Youth who are not responding adequately to routine outpatient services and need a higher level of care

Our multidisciplinary team includes child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, certified mental health workers, psychiatric registered nurses, psychiatric advanced practice nurses and creative arts therapists.

The IOP Program offers initial psychosocial assessments, psychosocial skill-building workshops and multi-family/group creative arts therapy. Anger management, relaxation, social skills and parent effectiveness training are among the skill sets covered. Medication clinics are also available to patients enrolled in IOP.

Learn more about the Intensive Outpatient Psychiatry Program (IOP) at Children’s Colorado.

Intensive Services Program

The Intensive Services Program is a multidisciplinary program that provides a continuum of care from 24 hours/ 7 days a week to day treatment five days a week. This service is available for clients with acute psychiatric symptoms that require the safety and support of more intensive care. Services are available for children 3 to 17 years of age.

Learn more about the Intensive Services Program at Children’s Colorado.

Psychosocial Research Center

The Psychosocial Research Center at Children's Colorado is currently recruiting children to participate in various clinical trials and research studies. Participants in clinical trials gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available. Often, the process of collecting information in the study will allow the doctor to find out more about your child’s condition and the effects it has on your child. This may allow your child to benefit from better treatment after completing the trial. Many patients also derive satisfaction from knowing they are aiding in an effort to help reduce the suffering of other people suffering from the same ailment.

Carefully conducted clinical trials are the safest way to find new treatments that will improve health problems. Our clinical trial team includes doctors, psychologists, nurses, and study coordinators. Before joining a clinical trial, a participant must qualify for the study. Eligible participants are seen by specialized physicians who will aid in the evaluation of their condition.

Psychotherapy is not provided as part of these research studies; these are only medication clinical trials. Depending on the study, participation in psychotherapy while your child is involved in the study may not be allowed, or could be allowed under the conditions outlined in the protocol. All study-related assessments and medication are provided at no cost; the study medications are investigational.

Learn more about the Psychosocial Research Center at Children’s Colorado.

Healthy Expectations, a mental health program for pregnant and postpartum women

The Healthy Expectations perinatal mental health program supports pregnant and postpartum women and their families who are struggling with mood and anxiety issues. The program offers free support groups for mothers during pregnancy and the postpartum period, as well as individual counseling, couples counseling and mother-infant support. Healthy Expectations also provides evaluations for medical, psychological, social and/or alternative approaches.

Learn more about the Healthy Expectations Program for pregnant and postpartum women.