Dr. Jill Ehrenreich-May: Championing Pediatric Therapy

Director, University of Miami CAMAT Program

As the director of the Child and Adolescent Mood and Anxiety Treatment (CAMAT) Program at University of Miami (UM), as well as a professor and the associate chair of the psychology department, Dr. Jill Ehrenreich-May has seen a lot.

Her research mainly focuses on the development and evaluation of programs for youths with anxiety, depression, and other related concerns. CAMAT, her clinical research program, serves that purpose by studying the mechanisms and outcomes associated with treatments and by offering training to students and therapists.

The program treats about 200 children and families per year in group, telehealth, and individual therapy settings, mostly using exposure and cognitive behavioral therapies. These work mainly by gradually “exposing” the patient to experiences they fear unnecessarily while supplementing that work with talk therapy centered around challenging unhelpful thoughts and creating helpful responses.

Latest Achievement

Dr. Ehrenreich-May is at the tail end of her year-long presidency of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), which champions the science behind psychotherapy. As president, she has used two published treatment manuals for children and adolescents suffering from emotional disorders that she created herself to inform her mission.

Dr. Jill Ehrenreich-May

CAMAT, which she founded in 2008, is now launching a new program at UM to provide free cognitive behavioral therapy for children and adolescents to about 80 families per year. With funding from the Children’s Trust, the program treats children under 12 with up to 24 weeks of free group therapy and children 13 and up with individual therapy.

What She Says

“We recognize that there is a lack of providers to meet the need of what’s really been a youth mental health crisis since the pandemic,” says Dr. Jill Ehrenreich-May. “What I’m really thrilled about is the ability right now to extend beyond the more research-focused practice that we had, to a focus on the community here in South Florida and their needs, both through providing free [services] in schools, and through community provider trainings.”

“If we can encourage people to use cognitive and behavioral practices, as well as other evidence-based approaches, children will have a higher likelihood of being able to function in a way that is more helpful to them.”

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