Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Pediatric Mental Health Institute

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Outpatient Therapy for Children with Behavior Challenges

About the Disruptive Behavior Disorders Program

The Disruptive Behavior Disorders Program at Children's Hospital Colorado serves youth with a variety of diagnoses and disorders. Most commonly, we see kids and teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Many of our patients who are diagnosed with a disruptive behavior disorder also suffer from co-morbid (more than one) conditions, including anxiety and mood disorders, all of which are targeted in treatment.

Facts about disruptive behavior disorders

  • Disruptive behavior disorders, also referred to as behavior disorders, are the most common reasons children are referred to mental health practitioners for possible treatment.
  • Some examples of disruptive behaviors include arguing, fighting, kicking, yelling, property destruction, cursing, physical and verbal aggression, hyperactivity, impulsivity and distractibility.
  • Children exhibiting disruptive behavior often have impaired socialization and academic struggles.
  • Children with disruptive behavior disorders tend to struggle with interpersonal relations and might have excessive conflicts with family, friends and school staff.
  • Many children with disruptive behavior meet criteria for ADHD or ODD and/or have co-morbid mood and anxiety disorders; they might also have language and/or learning disorders.
  • Research has identified both biological and environmental causes for disruptive behavior disorders.
  • Because so many of the factors that cause disruptive behavior disorders happen very early in a child's life, it is important to recognize the problems as early as possible and get treatment.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado to treat disruptive behavior?

Our treatment philosophy is based on our commitment to intervening with whole families. The Disruptive Behavior Disorders Program is designed to treat not just the individual youngster, but parents and siblings as well. In addition, all of our programs are skills-building or strengths-oriented, meaning that our psychotherapies strive to build on existing strengths and foster new psychosocial skills in families. In a nutshell, our approaches derive from the overarching goal of family empowerment.

At Children's Colorado, we are committed to providing evidence-based and standardized treatments. All of our programs have been validated by research and outcome data. Many of our faculty have contributed to field advancements and are regionally and nationally renowned for their achievements and expertise. Our programs are multidisciplinary in nature, with providers from varied disciplines including nursing, social work, psychology and psychiatry, to ensure that all treatment needs are served.

We, uniquely in the region, offer a comprehensive continuum of care, with programs from inpatient day treatment to intensive and routine outpatient. Most of our providers offer continued follow-up into lower levels of care, ensuring continuity and quality of care.

Specific conditions treated

Services offered

Routine Outpatient Psychiatry Program
This program offers a comprehensive array of outpatient services including evaluations, medication management and psychological testing. We also offer individual, group, family and creative arts therapy. Our outpatient services are for patients ages 5 to 17 with nearly any diagnoses, and their families.

Intensive Outpatient Psychiatry Program
Launched in 2006, our Intensive Outpatient Psychiatry Program has been extremely successful. It has achieved positive clinical outcomes and received consistently high patient-satisfaction ratings. The Intensive Outpatient Program is designed to serve youth with disruptive behavior or mood disorders who are stepping down to a lower level of care, or patients who have not been successful with routine outpatient treatment. It is also well-suited for youth who have recently presented the need for an urgent or emergent psychiatric assessment.

The program holds sessions for parents and youth three times a week, for a five-week course of treatment. Components include a psychosocial assessment, psycho-education, psychosocial skills training, parent effectiveness training and creative arts therapies. The program is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of experts, specializing in the treatment of disruptive and mood disorders for youth and their families. Please call 720-777-6200 for more information regarding medication consultations.

Referral information
Referrals for outpatient mental health services are made through our intake team. We will make every effort to work with insurance companies, although not all insurances will authorize treatment at Children's Colorado. For more information, or if you are a physician seeking to make a referral, please call 720-777-6200.

Resources for families



Contact us

The Psychiatry Outpatient Specialty Programs are located on the fourth floor of the Gary Pavilion at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic
Phone: 720-777-6200
Fax: 720-777-7311