Child/Adolescent Specific FAQs
How long will therapy last?
As with many things, it depends upon the circumstances. I strive to provide practical, solution-focused therapy so that you only come to see me as long as necessary - until functioning is restored. The nature of the presenting issue also comes into play, as some issues take longer to resolve than others. For example, I have worked with a child or family for as little as 3-4 sessions to resolve very specific issues. It is more common, however, for treatment to last 2-4 months. Other times, treatment needs to continue longer. The length of treatment also depends upon your goals. Some families want to work on other issues after the initial issue is well-managed. Your attendance to sessions and follow through with recommendations also impacts the length of treatment.
What is your theoretical orientation?
I use a variety of techniques personalized for each situation. I generally use a cognitive-behavioral framework and "borrow" from other orientations depending on the particular presenting issue. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often very effective in reducing symptoms and improving functioning. This approach usually involves work outside the therapy session which can help treatment move forward more efficiently and effectively. You may be asked to try things between sessions and come back and share the results which will help us determine next steps.
I've tried everything! How are you going to help me?
I consider you the expert on you and/or your family. I will listen to what you have tried and why it has not succeeded. We will work together to determine what will help your particular situation. I may ask you to try some things you have already tried and will explain why and/or how I want you to do something slightly differently. I aim to truly personalize interventions. We will talk about what challenges exist specific to your situation and how we will work around them. It is common for me to ask questions such as, "When you go home and try this, what challenges might you face or what curveballs might be thrown back at you?". We will then prepare you to address those challenges.
What should I do to prepare for our first appointment?
When you set up an initial intake appointment, I will provide you with paperwork to complete. I usually begin intake appointments by reviewing the paperwork, answering your questions, and then simply asking you to tell me why you are seeking help. I follow your lead and will jump in with my questions. It is very helpful to bring in copies of any previous testing or evaluations that may have been completed. If you sought treatment in the past, it is valuable to know what you found helpful and not helpful about that experience. Some people find it useful to jot down a general timeline to help them organize their thoughts or to make a list of their concerns but this is not necessary.
Are you a participating provider with insurance companies?
It is my belief that we (you and I) should be in charge of treatment decisions, not your insurance company. I do not want to compromise the quality of care you receive by having to work within the confines determined by your insurance company. While I am not an in-network provider with any insurance company, you can submit the receipts from our sessions to your insurance company and seek out-of-network benefits. It will be important for you to check with your particular insurance company to determine your mental health/behavioral health out-of-network benefits and the details of those benefits. I can provide you with CPT codes to help you know what to ask when you call your insurance company. You may have coverage for a good portion of my services. More information about fees and insurance can be found in the business policy.
Will you coordinate treatment with other providers (e.g., psychiatrist, physician, speech/language therapist, occupational therapist)?
I am happy to consult with other treatment providers, as this can often help treatment move forward more effectively. I will need you to sign a release in order to permit me to talk with these other professionals.
When working with children, how involved are parents/caregivers in the process?
When your child sees me for therapy, you are likely to be involved. For very young children (preschool-1st grade), I may actually work with you more often than with your child. I have found that working with parents/caregivers about how they respond to various behaviors can be highly effective in changing child (and parent/caregiver) behavior to improve interactions. Adolescents, however, generally prefer more privacy and confidentiality and we will come to an agreement about what information is or isn't shared with you. For children between these ages, I generally work with both the child and parents/caregivers, spending time with each separately and combined.
How will you help my child feel comfortable?
I understand that some children will be anxious about coming to see me (and some parents/caregivers too!). Most children are not likely to sit down in my office and self-reflect about whatever issue has brought them and/or their families in, although some surprise us and do. I aim to provide a comfortable environment and will give your child some time to "warm up." I often play with younger children while we meet to help them feel more comfortable. For example, we may build with Legos, play a board game, or draw while we talk. For older children and adolescents, we may use the computer or other technology to help maintain their interest. I will follow your child's lead. If there are particular things I could do to help your child feel more comfortable, please tell me. During the initial intake (usually done without the child present), we can also discuss how to tell your child about coming in to see me.