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Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology
Rutgers logo
Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology
Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic

Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic


Our clinic is an outpatient specialty program at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology of Rutgers University, focusing on the treatment of child and adolescent anxiety and depression. Therapists are advanced doctoral students from the clinical and school psychology programs who are trained and supervised by Director, Dr. Brian Chu, who is a licensed psychologist and a faculty member of the Department of Clinical Psychology. He has been practicing for over 20 years and training evidence-based clinicians for nearly as long.

We specialize in providing diagnostic assessment and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for youth ages 9-17.

As part of a major training university, YAD-C is a research clinic that always uses treatment methods that are evidence-based, and supported by the latest research in child and adolescent psychology.



    How to start the process

    Thank you for your interest in the Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic (YAD-C). We look forward to speaking with you.

    The first step is to hold an initial phone screening. This will take about 20-30 minutes and will be used to give you information about the YAD-C, gather information about your family, and help you decide if this is the right match for you. If it is not, we will provide alternative referrals.

    You can schedule a phone screening by:

    Booking a phone screen time at our online scheduler at:

    Calling us at (848) 445-3905

    Emailing us at

    We do not have full time office coverage, and so, you may not reach a live person when you call. Please do leave a message with your name and contact information and we will respond as quickly as possible.
    Thanks, and we look forward to speaking with you.

    Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic
    Phone: (848) 445-3905
    Fax: (732) 445-4888


    If your child is between 9-17 years old and is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be a good candidate for the YAD-C:

    • Sad, down, blue, or irritable mood
    • Withdrawal from friends, school/work, and social activities; disinterested in things you used to like
    • Pervasive, persistent worries about multiple topics (i.e. school/work performance, family, health, future)
    • Difficulty separating from home, parents, or loved one.
    • Excessive fear or embarrassment in social situations
    • Problems at home, school/work, or with peers as a result of mood or anxiety

    Brian C. Chu, PhD, Director

    Brian Chu is founder and director of the Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic and associate professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at GSAPP. He is a Fellow of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and has received the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Young Investigator Award to support development of behavioral activation and exposure programs in middle schools.  He has co-edited a book, Transdiagnostic Treatments for Children and Adolescents: Principles and Practice (Guilford, 2013), reviewing the science and treatment of basic processes underlying much of youth pathology and is co-authoring a practitioner-oriented book designed to guide clinicians in everyday evidence-based practice. He is editor of Cognitive & Behavioral Practice, serves on the editorial board for several scientific journals, and is an active scholar in the areas of youth mental health and active therapy processes. He is an avid advocate for child and adolescent health and mental health rights and concerns and a committed trainer and supervisor for evidence-based practice and practitioners.

    Dr. Brian Chu.JPG


    In addition to the treatment provided at the Youth Anxiety and Depression, we are always engaged in research evaluating the effectiveness of our approaches. Our hope is that our research can lead to a better understanding of what factors contribute to youth anxiety and mood disorders and how to improve treatment outcomes for all. We are also interested in working with traditionally underserved communities, and forming partnerships to increase access to mental health care.

    For a complete list of lab scholarly works, visit us on Research Gate.

    Individual Behavioral Activation Therapy (IBAT):

    We are actively looking for youth who are anxious or depressed to participate in a randomized clinical trial (RCT) evaluating the effectiveness of Individual Behavioral Activation Therapy, a new cognitive-behavioral therapy that emphasizes active problem solving and behavioral practice. Participating families will be randomly assigned to the novel IBAT program, to two established cognitive-behavioral interventions (Coping Cat, PASCET) or to a 14-week waitlist (WL) control. Participants will be 200 youth (ages 9-17 years old) who receive a diagnosis of a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – 5th edition (DSM-5; APA, 2013) anxiety (n=100) or depression (n=100) disorder. The goal of this project is to establish the efficacy of IBAT and to examine different pathways to change.

    If your family would like to participate in the IBAT clinical trial, click here:

    Healthy Families Study

    We are actively seeking families (caregivers and youth) who have a child or adolescent between the ages of 9 and 17 years-old. Two hundred families will participate in interviews, surveys, and interactive activities to tell us more about how caregivers and youth interact with each other and solve problems. Eligible families will complete two virtual visits and answer survey questions. Eligible families can earn up to $100 if they complete both virtual visits. 

    If you would like to participate and/or have any questions, please reach out to us at 848-445-5374 or

    Technology Aids for Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety/Depression:

    We have recently created an iPhone/Android application to better understand changes in anxiety and mood in youth throughout the day to best identify the times when kids are getting stuck. The Real-time Emotion Action and Cognition Tracker (REACT system) is being used in youth treatment studies to determine when and how it is best to intervene. A treatment application is also in development so that kids can make use of a mobile “coping coach” on their mobile device.

    The Rutgers Community Partnership Project: Establishing Sustainable Clinic-Community Partnerships

    This project strives to build meaningful relationships between community partners and GSAPP specialty clinics with a focus on youth mental health. These partnerships will inform efforts to better understand mental health needs and service use in underserved youths in our local communities. Through a collaborative process, we plan to develop a "toolkit," or set of recommendations, that can guide future clinics in building meaningful and sustainable community relationships. We are committed to promoting social justice and hope to begin to targeting the disparities in care for racial/ethnic, gender/sexuality, and socioeconomic minorities by increasing mental health services in underserved communities. To learn more about the Rutgers Community Partnership Project, click here.

    Developing a Scalable and Sustainable Early Detection System for School Absenteeism

    This project aims to develop a web-based attendance dashboard that leverages existing school administrative processes to monitor and provide feedback on student attendance to identify acute attendance problems (Tier 2) before they develop into chronic absenteeism (Tier 3) in middle school youth. The project consists of (a) an iterative technology development phase, (b) development of a brief socio-emotional risk factor screener, and (c) a long-term follow-up to establish attendance cutoffs of chronic absenteeism and build data-driven prediction models (attendance algorithms).

    Novel Methods to Enhance and Extend Child/Pediatric Graduate and Professional Training

    This project aims to conceptualize and initiate extended learning opportunities for graduate students and alumni focusing on youth mental health. The project will complete a mixed methods needs assessment to determine optimal structure, format, and function of synchronous and asynchronous peer learning collaboratives.

    christine_deniseresearch (YAD-C)

    Therapeutic Specialties

    We specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a goal-oriented approach teaching clients coping skills to become more active in life and overcome barriers that are holding them back. 

    If you think your child would benefit from CBT, please contact us here

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety

    CBT uses a variety of strategies to help one reduce anxiety, challenge anxious thinking, and counter long-standing avoidance behavior, including affective education, behavioral relaxation, cognitive restructuring, imaginal and in-vivo exposure, modeling and rewards, and behavioral parent training.

    • Therapy is time-limited and goal-focused.
    • Individual and family-based therapy.
    • Teaches emotions education, helping us identify which situations trigger fear and anxiety, and teaches relaxation or mindfulness exercises to manage physical symptoms.
    • Teaches coping skills to identify anxious thoughts, challenge our assumptions, and develop more realistic coping thoughts.
    • Uses imaginal and in-vivo exposures which encourage approaching our feared situations through real-life practice. Your therapist will actively coach you through challenges in a supportive and encouraging manner to help you do things that have held you back.
    • When working with youth, CBT often incorporates the parents to help them recognize the patterns that reinforce anxious child behaviors and provides alternatives to helping encourage their child to manage their own distress.

    Click here for more info on CBT for anxiety


    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Depression

    CBT uses a variety of strategies to help one become more active, feel more energy, find more meaning in life, and reduce negative thoughts and depressed mood. CBT increases activity and meaning in life through a combination of interventions, including behavioral activation, challenging negative thinking, problem solving, behavioral experiments and in vivo exposures, self-rewards, and parent interventions.

    • Therapy is time-limited and goal-focused.
    • Individual and family-based therapy.
    • Teaches emotions education, helping us to identify which situations trigger irritability and depressed mood and teaching us to soothe upset with relaxation and mindfulness.
    • Teaches behavioral activation which helps us to identify the situations and people that promote positive or negative experiences, helps us evaluate the traps that keep us stuck, and helps promote our seeking more positive approaches to seeking meaningful experiences.
    • Teaches coping skills to identify unrealistically negative or self-critical thoughts, to challenge our assumptions, and to develop more realistic coping thoughts.
    • Teaches problem-solving skills to help us more effectively manage real-life challenges that impede our goals.
    • Uses behavioral practice and in-vivo exposures to practice skills in real-life challenging situations. One of the challenges that confront people dealing with depression is that it is difficult to implement homework strategies on one's own. Here, we teach coping skills and then help you practice in real-life situations to increase confidence and competence in your newly learned skills.
    • When working with youth, CBT often incorporates the parents to help them recognize the patterns that reinforce irritable and negative child behaviors and provides alternatives to helping encourage their child to manage their own distress.

    Click here for more info on CBT for depression

    lab_working_photo (YAD-C)
    christine_deniseresearch (YAD-C)
    lab_working_photo (YAD-C)

    Information About Anxiety and Depression

    *Descriptions of psychological disorders are presented for educational purposes. These descriptions are not sufficient to diagnose oneself or one's child. If you are looking for a formal diagnosis, please seek the help of a trained professional.*

    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is among the most chronic and debilitating of the anxiety disorders.  GAD is associated with excessive, uncontrollable worry in a variety of domains including school performance, making friends, appearance, neatness/order, health, and “little things”.  GAD may interfere with a child’s ability to participate in relationships, activities, and school, and typically, symptoms do not remit without effective treatment.  Lifetime prevalence of GAD has been estimated above 5%.  Key symptoms include:

      • Excessive and uncontrollable worrying
      • Restlessness or feeling on edge
      • Irritability
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle tension
      • Sleep disturbance
      • Difficulty concentrating
    • Social Anxiety Disorder  is an intense fear of becoming embarrassed or humiliated in social situations.    Some situations that commonly make children with social phobia anxious are public speaking or performing, meeting new people, social gatherings, eating in public, using public restrooms, and speaking to authority figures. Children with social phobia often worry that they will do or say something that will lead to humiliation, or that their anxiety will be noticed by others who will then judge them negatively.  As a result, these children tend to either avoid the situations they fear or endure them with considerable distress. Social anxiety is more severe than shyness, and may lead to impairment in several domains of functioning (e.g., school attendance and performance, social activities, initiating and maintaining peer relationships).  Key symptoms include:

      • Intense fear of social situations
      • Exposure to feared situations almost invariably provokes significant anxiety (e.g., crying, tantrums, freezing, shrinking)
      • Excessive worry about embarrassment or being judged by others
      • Avoidance of feared social situations
      • Performance anxiety
    • Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is characterized by excessive anxiety about being away from home or one’s caregiver.  Children with SAD often worry that something bad will happen to them (e.g., getting kidnapped) or their caregiver (e.g., car accident, heart attack) if they are apart.  This separation-based worry and anxiety can lead to impairments in several domains of a child’s functioning including school (e.g., school refusal), social activities (e.g., avoidance of sleepovers), and adaptive independent behavior (e.g., difficulty sleeping alone at night).  Key symptoms include:

      • Excessive anxiety about separation from home or caregiver
      • Excessive worry about loss or harm to self or caregiver
      • Fear of being alone without adults
      • Fear of sleeping without caregiver nearby
      • Nightmares about separation
      • Complaints of physical symptoms when away from caregiver
      • School refusal behavior
    • Specific phobias are intense, irrational fears of specific objects, animals, or situations. Common fears include heights, water, public transportation, storms, closed spaces, tunnels, bridges, and certain animals (spiders, snakes, bees, dogs, etc.). Children with specific phobias typically make a conscious effort to avoid the situation or experience that they fear, and exposure to the feared object or event almost invariably elicits considerable anxiety.  These fears become a significant problem when they interfere with a child’s daily life (e.g., fear of dogs prevents a child from going over her friend’s house).  Key symptoms include:

      • Intense, persistent, and irrational fear that is associated with significant anxiety and cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation
      • Exposure to feared object or situation almost invariably provokes significant anxiety (e.g., crying, tantrums, freezing)
      • Persistent effort to avoid the feared object or situation
    • A panic attack is a sudden, acute episode of intense anxiety that occurs “out of the blue”.  A panic attack involves such a high level of anxiety that children might feel they are having a heart attack, going to die, going crazy, or losing control.  When a child has recurring, unexpected panic attacks, fears future panic attacks, and makes changes in his or her behavior as a result, a diagnosis of Panic Disorder is given.  During a panic attack, children may experience acute physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, tingling sensations, ringing in the ears, a sense of impending doom, trembling, a feeling of choking, chest pain, sweating, and heart pounding.  In the case of Panic Disorder, the child’s catastrophic misinterpretation and subsequent fear of these somatic symptoms are the source of future panic attacks.  Children with Panic Disorder often avoid certain places (e.g., movie theatres, malls) in which they fear they might have a panic attack, a condition known as Agoraphobia

    • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in childhood features a depressed or irritable mood and a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for at least 2 weeks.  These symptoms represent a change from the child's normal mood and result in impairment in the child’s school and interpersonal functioning.  MDD is one of the most common and serious mental health problems facing children and adults today.  Every year, more than 1 in 20 Americans experience a depressive episode.  Key symptoms include:

      • Depressed or irritable mood
      • A loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities
      • Significant weight loss or weight gain
      • Sleep disturbance
      • Fatigue or loss of energy
      • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
      • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
      • Difficulty concentrating or indecisiveness
      • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide 
    • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is characterized by sad or irritable mood for at least one year.  The symptoms of PDD are the same as those listed above for major depression, but are generally less intense.  An episode of dysthymia tends to be less severe but lasts much longer than a typical depressive episode.

    Additional Resources

    Webinars on-line

    The following links connect to online webinars conducted by Dr. Chu. Each start with a 30-min overview of the concern and include a brief Q&A session with parents and providers.

    Informational Websites & Consumer Groups

    For Adults:
    Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
    Anxiety and Depression Association of America

    For Youth and Families:
    Effective Child Therapy (SCCAP)
    Coping Cat Parents
    Child Anxiety Network

    Evidence-Based Clinics Across the Region
    For Adults:

    ABCT therapist finder

    For Youth and Families:
    ABCT therapist finder

    Please note these are informational only. Inclusion of these links should not be considered direct referrals or endorsement of these sites.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Call us at (848) 445-3905 or send us an email at We would be happy to give you more information about our program and conduct a brief phone screen to see if we are an appropriate program for your child.

      Please note that we do not have a full-time receptionist. Please leave your contact information and a team member will contact you within 24-48 hours.

    • There is no charge for your initial assessment. Sessions are charged on a sliding scale based on annual family income and are payable at the time of service.

      Families who participate in research receive financial compensation for completing scheduled assessments and gift cards/prizes may be available to youth at various timepoints throughout treatment.

    • Unfortunately, we do not accept insurance, but families are not charged for assessments, and therapy fees are assessed on a sliding scale.

    • Services are provided by advanced doctoral students in clinical or school psychology. These students are trained and supervised by recognized experts in the field of youth anxiety and depression.

    • We provide psychological therapy for children and adolescents (ages 9-17) who feel impacted by anxiety, stress, and mood problems. If your child  is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be a good candidate for the YAD-C:

      • Sad, down, blue, or irritable mood
      • Withdrawal from friends, school/work, and social activities; disinterested in things you used to like
      • Pervasive, persistent worries about multiple topics (i.e. school/work performance, family, health, future)
      • Difficulty separating from home, parents, or loved ones
      • Excessive fear or embarrassment in social situations
      • Problems at home, school/work, or with peers as a result of mood or anxiety
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a goal-oriented therapy that focuses on helping your child incorporate meaningful changes in his or her life. Children and teens learn skills and practice them actively inside and outside of therapy with the help of the therapist (coach) and family. Not all therapies are as active or as focused on real-world change as CBT.