IBD Center Psychosocial Services

We're here for you

Clarice smiling At CHOP, our Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) knows that the best outcomes happen when we treat the whole child. Being a child or teen is not always easy – and it can sometimes be harder when IBD is added to the mix of school, activities, friends and family life. Our psychosocial team is here to help patients with IBD and their families cope and live their lives to the fullest.

Who are we?

Gastrointestinal (GI) psychologist

Pediatric psychologists with the Center for Pediatric IBD support children, teens and families as they build skills in learning to live with a chronic health condition. We provide psychological consultations and cognitive-behavioral outpatient therapy (also known as counseling) to patients, as well as offer strategies for families to support their children and teens with IBD.

GI social worker

Social workers help patients and families cope with the emotional and practical challenges of a new or ongoing illness. The social worker’s role is to assess the psychosocial needs of your child and family, advocate to assure all your needs are met, and connect you to the appropriate resources, within the hospital and in the community.

Coping and outpatient therapy

Every child and family copes with IBD differently. Some children or teens may become sad, withdrawn, irritable, angry or anxious after being diagnosed or during a flare up of symptoms – and that is normal. Thankfully, we have resources to help children, teens and families overcome challenges related to IBD, and maintain a fun, active life.

We are here to assist with concerns about your child’s mood, anxiety or behavior. Our team of GI psychologists offers outpatient therapy to children and teens and support for their families relating to living with IBD. We also recommend contacting a counselor at your child's school to assist during the school day if needs arise or performance/participation is a concern.

Children, teens and families may work with a GI psychologist to learn new skills and strategies to help with:

  • Coping with IBD
  • IBD-related stress and pain management
  • Following a treatment plan (like remembering to take medication) and becoming more independent with healthcare as a teen or young adult
  • Overcoming fears about swallowing pills, receiving shots/injections, or other medical procedures
  • Mood, anxiety or behavior concerns related to IBD
  • Staying involved in school, activities and social life

CHOP’s Child Life Service offers some helpful tips for coping with medical procedures – check them out!

Support groups

CHOP’s Center for Pediatric IBD offers support groups led by psychologists, social workers and other staff. We welcome children, adolescents and their families to join us in discussing life with IBD, to meet others who understand the challenges and rewards, and to discuss ways to improve everyday life with a chronic disorder.

Interested? Find our upcoming support groups.

POPS Referral Program

Learning your child has inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be a scary and challenging time. CHOP’s Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease provides a Peers Offering Practical Support (POPS) program to parents and guardians who have children diagnosed with IBD. 

The POPS Program provides practical, nonclinical support to help families cope with their child’s diagnosis.

In the POPS Program, families may discuss:

  • A pediatric IBD diagnosis and what it means for your child’s life — today and in the future
  • General support, including explaining IBD to younger children and encouraging teens to make healthy choices for their medical condition
  • Tackling life with IBD: school, social life, sports and college

You may connect by phone, text, email or in person with a POPS member, depending on your preferences. An experienced social worker will partner with you through POPS to provide a better understanding of the program’s advantages and how you can use it to help your children.

Learn More or Sign up: 267-426-9589 or chopibdgroup@email.chop.edu

Psychosocial tips for managing IBD