Now available in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island

Answers to the Questions We Hear Most Frequently From Families

We want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family. If you don’t find what you need here, don’t hesitate to contact us.

InStride Health Program:

InStride Health is a specialty pediatric anxiety/OCD outpatient treatment program for children, teens, and young adults (ages 7-22). Our patients receive evidence-based treatment (CBT, ACT, components of DBT) with an emphasis on exposure, delivered by a coordinated care team of a psychiatrist, therapist, and coach. We offer a continuum of care, starting with more touch points each week and gradually reducing them as treatment progresses. Our program provides individual and family sessions, groups for both kids and parents/caregivers, exposure coaching (scheduled and as needed,) and medication management. We engage in Measurement-Based Care (MBC) to ensure data-driven transparency and accountability in our treatment. InStride treatment is fully virtual, a delivery format that has been demonstrated to be as effective as in-person treatment for youth with anxiety and/or OCD.

Our care team understands what a privilege it is to be part of a family’s journey. Our clinical co-founders built InStride Health after a decade of hands-on experience building treatment programs at McLean Hospital – the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School. We built InStride to disrupt the broken mental health system and improve access to evidence-based care that works for children, teens, and young adults. We have the training, expertise, proven clinical outcomes and, most importantly, the heart to help you/your child learn and leverage the skills and strategies needed to quickly get back on track.

At InStride we work very hard to ensure quick access to the care that is needed. There is no waitlist, so typically a patient’s care journey begins in as little as 1 to 4 weeks after the application is accepted. The time to start therapy is often dependent on the family’s schedule.

We treat all severity levels of anxiety and OCD, with particular focus on those with moderate to severe conditions where anxiety and/or OCD are interfering with functioning and causing additional problems (e.g, social isolation, school avoidance, physical manifestations, depression and hopelessness).

No, a formal diagnosis is not needed to apply. Early in the treatment process, our care team conducts a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation to develop an individually tailored, evidence-based treatment plan.

All patients must have anxiety and/or OCD as the primary disorder.

We engage patients and families in a fully virtual care journey that research has shown to be as effective as in-person treatment for youth with anxiety and OCD. The treatment plan is personalized to fit into your/your child’s life, rather than the other way around. While we offer regularly scheduled therapy sessions, we also have real-time coaching and check-ins via phone and text to help engage kids in treatment and increase accountability, as well as opportunities to be supported by the therapist/coach virtually while doing exposure exercises out in the community using portable devices and headphones.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a key component of our treatment at InStride, which is grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the gold-standard treatment for anxiety and OCD. Exposure therapy is about gradually facing the people, places, things, and activities that cause anxiety so that the brain can create new, more adaptive memories to compete with fear memories and resist the urge to do what anxiety or OCD demands. In other words, exposure therapy retrains our brains to no longer be afraid of certain things. 



We give kids the tools to make exposure become an everyday part of life. This includes teaching them about the evidence-based exposure model. We build a hierarchy or roadmap for exposure with them, and give them an exposure coach who practices exposures with them in the community. The exciting thing about virtual exposure treatment is that kids can do exposures in stores, libraries, restaurants, school, their neighborhood, etc. with their coach through their portable devices and headphones. Our coaches also send text reminders to practice exposures so that kids don’t forget. Importantly, research has shown that virtual CBT, with exposure as the cornerstone, is as effective as in-person for this population.

Yes, we offer both individual and family sessions as well as groups for our patients and for parents/caregivers. InStride also has a parent-only track for situations when the child is unable or unwilling to participate in therapy but the caregivers want to learn evidence-based strategies to support their child.

Participation in parent/caregiver groups is highly encouraged. The initial parent/caregiver group spans the first eight weeks and is focused on providing parenting skills and strategies. This is a particularly important group because it lays the foundation for parents and caregivers. After the initial session, parents and caregivers are invited to participate in ongoing practice groups to discuss their strategy use at home and problem-solve roadblocks and challenges.

Sometimes, kids are not ready or willing to participate in treatment at InStride, but we know that our services can still be beneficial for caregivers. For this reason, we offer a Parent-only treatment track, in which parents meet with the care team (therapist, coach, and psychiatrist) to learn skills and strategies to help their child overcome anxiety or OCD. The treatment still targets the child’s anxiety, but the focus is on changes that parents can make to their own behavior in order to help the child learn to identify and cope with anxiety. 

We believe that parents/caregivers are an integral part of the treatment process. At a minimum, we ask that parents/caregivers of minors participate in the initial clinical evaluation and medication evaluation as well as intermittent treatment review sessions. We also highly encourage families to participate in parent/caregiver groups and additional family and/or psychiatry sessions, as needed. 


Additional family support can be provided, as needed, and as coordinated by the care team. For young adults, we work with the young adult and family to determine the most appropriate plan of action, based on individual needs and circumstances.

Treatment is divided into three phases progressing from more to less intensive over approximately 4-12 months. Three phases of treatment offer an opportunity to gradually increase autonomy as skills and confidence build with practice. Time spent in each phase is tailored to the particular patient and depends on the severity of their anxiety/OCD.

Each family moves through three phases of care progressing from more to less intensive over the course of approximately 4-12 months. While the first phase is the most intense, it is also time-limited – – generally 3-4 hours per week with multiple appointments with different members of the care team. The appointments are spread out throughout the week and based on your availability. The second phase is usually 2-3 hours per family per week, and by the third phase, the time commitment is reduced to only 30-60 min per family per week. It may seem like a large time commitment, especially at first, but the program works, and by the time kids graduate from InStride they can successfully manage their anxiety/OCD independently. Your care team will meet periodically with your family to discuss your care moving forward and to review treatment progress as you move to the next phase of care.

No, we are not a school-based mental health program. We do, however, partner with school personnel during a patient’s journey to ensure consistency and support.

Our clinical team provides each patient with an individualized transition plan to help ensure that change is sustainable after InStride graduation. If an InStride graduate feels that they need additional support, booster sessions with the InStride clinical care team are available.

Thank you for applying and taking the first step to getting care. A member of our intake team will reach out within 1 business day via the phone number that you provided to schedule a screening.  During the intake screening, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, provide insurance information, and most importantly, answer some questions about yourself/your child so that we get to know you and can ensure the right fit for the program. We can often start therapy within 1-4 weeks of the screening depending on the family schedule. We look forward to providing care quickly.

Referrals/Outside Providers:

Although we accept doctors’ referrals, they are not required. Patients and/or caregivers may submit an application directly.

Yes – that is the family’s choice! Our team sees this as a great opportunity for collaboration, with the InStride psychiatrist providing an additional opinion and collaborating with the outside psychiatrist to ensure coordinated care. InStride families have chosen to handle this situation in different ways in the past. Some families will work with the InStride psychiatrist while continuing to meet with their outside psychiatrist at a decreased frequency in order to stay connected. In this instance, we do recommend that you check with your insurance to confirm that both InStride treatment and outside psychiatry visits will be covered. Other families choose to pause their work with the outside psychiatrist during InStride treatment with a plan to resume with them after InStride graduation. Our care team is happy to work with your family to determine the best option for you.

At InStride, each child, teen, or young adult is assigned a therapist (along with a coach and psychiatrist). Most youth pause their outpatient therapy while they participate in treatment at InStride; however, in certain circumstances, families will continue with an outpatient therapist at the same time as InStride if there is a separate need being addressed (e.g., traditional talk therapy or DBT). In this case, we recommend that you check with your insurance to confirm that both InStride treatment and the outside therapy visits will be covered.

Yes, our care team collaborates with pediatricians, schools, and outside providers for a holistic, surround-sound approach.

Provider Collaboration:

Our highly experienced care team includes a psychiatrist, therapist, and exposure coach who work closely with patients, families and each other to ensure coordinated care. This care team will be assigned to the patient at the very beginning and will be with them throughout the duration of the program. 


Every member of our care team goes through rigorous training and has the expertise and heart to work with children, teens and young adults with anxiety and OCD.  All of the care team members are employees of InStride.

The role of the exposure coach at InStride is to activate and engage youth in the treatment process. Exposure coaches help support during- and between-session exposure practice by providing encouragement and accountability.  They meet with youth for scheduled sessions focused on exposure practice and also provide proactive and reactive text coaching between sessions to enhance treatment engagement.

At this time our care team provides services in English.

Yes. If medication is needed, the psychiatrist on the care team will prescribe it. Please note that due to the virtual nature of our treatment, we are unable to prescribe controlled substances such as stimulants and benzodiazepines. Before our team prescribes any medication we will collaborate with your external provider.


We currently accept the following insurances: Mass General Brigham Health Plan, Anthem BCBS (including Empire), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, ConnectiCare, EmblemHealth, Group Health Incorporated (GHI), Harvard Pilgrim, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, NYSHIP, Optum, Oscar, Oxford, UnitedHealthcare, and Wellpoint (UniCare). 



We recommend that families call the number on the back of their insurance card to confirm coverage. Please note, not all plans under carriers are accepted. We’re continually working to add new insurance options and expand to new states.



At this time, we do not accept self-pay or Medicaid.

No, at this time we do not accept self-pay.

No. Our services are billed in a monthly bundle, so while you/your child may see a psychiatrist, therapist, and coach all in the same week, you are not billed a co-pay for every individual session. Your amount of co-pays in a given week/month depends on your insurance carrier.


We currently are licensed to provide care to patients in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. We will be expanding to more states soon.

Yes! As long as the patient is physically located in one of our states during treatment he/she/they can be part of our program.


Yes! As advocates of publicizing the effectiveness of mental health treatment, we’re thrilled to share our first outcomes report. Our clinical outcomes from program graduates demonstrate that the results are rapid and sustainable. You can view our latest outcome report here.

Start the application process here.