MATCH-ADTC: Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems

MATCH-ADTC: Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems
a dark skinned man and a medium light skinned young teen boy fist bump while sitting on the floor in front of a couch


Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH-ADTC) is a set of proven cognitive-behavioral approaches designed for children and youth who experience:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Post-traumatic stress 
  • Disruptive behavior problems, including problems associated with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

Unlike most counseling programs that focus on a single problem (such as anxiety only), MATCH-ADTC is designed as a treatment that can be applied to multiple problems through a single, flexible system. The clinician uses proven tools to develop a treatment plan that fits each individual’s needs. MATCH-ADTC allows clinicians to individualize their services to address co-occurring issues or adjust the treatment if there are therapeutic roadblocks. The MATCH-ADTC protocol provides clear step-by-step instructions, activities, example scripts, time-saving tips, monitoring forms, and easy-to-read explanatory handouts and worksheets for individual sessions with the youth and their caregivers.

Why do we need MATCH-ADTC?

Mental Health concerns among children and youth are common. The issues vary, from severe depression and anxiety to acting out behaviors and aggression. Each child or youth is different, and some situations can involve more than one concern (such as anxiety plus substance use or depression plus aggressive behavior). Match-ADTC allows the clinician to assess and address each person’s behavioral health issues using a customized approach. (Source: CDC)

graphic showing 1 in 6

One in six U.S. youth aged 6-17

One in six U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder that interferes with their ability to function well at home, school, or in their communities.

Who is MATCH-ADTC for?

Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH-ADTC) is for children and adolescents between the ages of 6 to 17 with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Conduct (behavior) problems
  • Traumatic stress. 

MATCH-ADTC may be worth exploring as a treatment if a youth:

  • Feels very sad or withdrawn. 
  • Avoids socializing with others. 
  • Self-isolates. 
  • Has extreme irritability. 
  • Has difficulty coping with the challenges in their life.
  • Refuses to go to school or is very anxious about participating in school.
  • Has worries that interfere with their daily life.
  • Has difficulty getting along with others at home or school.
  • Is experiencing other challenges getting in the way of their lives at home, school, and community.
A family with two young children talks to a counselor

Is MATCH-ADTC effective?

According to the California Clearinghouse, MATCH-ADTC has achieved the highest rating for effectiveness. MATCH-ADTC has been proven more effective in reducing mental health disorder symptoms than other forms of treatment, based on studies using rigorous scientific methods. The studies also showed that MATCH-ADTC is more efficient. In other words, youth who receive MATCH-ADTC achieve better outcomes in a shorter period than when they receive other treatments.

Who provides MATCH-ADTC?

MATCH-ADTC is provided by trained mental health clinicians who have completed rigorous training and professional support assistance. Every mental health center in New Hampshire has clinicians trained in MATCH-ADTC.

What to expect when receiving MATCH-ADTC?

MATCH-ADTC is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, in other words, treatment focuses on the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors causing problems for the youth. 

  • Once a youth has been assessed and meets the eligibility to receive MATCH-ADTC, they will be:
  • Assigned to a trained clinician who will explain the process.
  • Work with them to identify their current “top problems” to address.
  • Set goals for working together. 

Treatment involves helping the youth learn new skills and strategies to handle difficult situations and guides each youth as they practice these new behaviors. Treatment sessions typically occur in the provider’s office for about 1 hour weekly, with assignments or homework in between. Some aspects of treatment may be provided in the home or another community setting to support the child or youth as they learn these new skills.

For example:

The youth is too anxious to go to school. In that case, the clinician will teach the youth and caregiver about anxiety, help them to create a list of anxiety-provoking situations, and gradually practice those situations in a step-by-step way to help the youth overcome their fears. Each week the clinician will process with the youth how it went, celebrate successes, and decide if the approaches are working or if there is a need to change strategies.

Caregivers are the most important people in a child’s life, so MATCH-ADTC involves the caregivers to support the youth in learning skills and strategies. Some sessions might include just the youth, while others might include just the caregivers or everyone meeting together. Caregivers are most involved when the problem is disruptive or concerning behavior, such as oppositionality, non-compliance, or aggression. The average length of treatment is about 7 months, but it can be a bit shorter or longer if necessary.

The youth and clinician talk about progress during every treatment session.

An important part of MATCH-ADTC is identifying youth and caregivers’ goals for treatment and checking in regularly about progress on these goals. Every week, the youth and caregiver are asked to take a simple survey about the youth’s feelings and behaviors over the week, as well as their top concerns. This survey only takes a few minutes and can be completed on a computer, smartphone, or in session with their clinician. This survey is important to help the clinician, child/youth, and caregiver see how the treatment is going and help guide decisions about what skills to focus on next. This allows everyone to see change over time and track all their hard work.

How can I find out more about MATCH-ADTC training or MATCH-ADTC providers in my community?

New Hampshire has invested in training clinicians in every community mental health center to provide MATCH-ADTC.

More information about MATCH-ADTC can be found at