I frequently work with kids and teens who have difficulty with self-regulation (a child's ability to inhibit impulses and appropriately modify responses) due to ADHD, anxiety, depression, or for a variety of other reasons. I also work with kids and teens that have trouble with peer relationships and are struggling socially, whether due to the previously mentioned issues or due to Autism. I work with kids and teens on identifying their problematic behaviors or thought patterns, problem-solving various solutions, learning coping strategies, and implementing new ways of managing their symptoms. I also provide group therapy for kids aged 8 to 12 (see my Groups and Executive Functioning Training page for more details), which focuses on teaching the development of social skills while learning to manage impulsivity, anxiety, and other issues.
I also provide comprehensive psychological testing and assessment to assist in determining attention and concentration problems, processing speed difficulties, learning disabilities, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and learning profiles. Testing can be useful in assessing the impact other issues have on your child's cognitive processes, such as how anxiety or depression may be affecting their ability to recall or process information. It is also useful in determining a diagnosis.
What to expect when you make the first phone call
When you make the initial call, I will ask you some basic questions regarding your child's age and current life stressors. I will also want to know some other basic background information, such as how long the problem has persisted and whether or not your child has an IEP or 504. We will discuss insurance and fees, I will answer any questions that you might have, and then we will schedule our first appointment if you are ready. Depending on your child's age and the type of concerns, I will let you know whether or not you should bring your child to the initial assessment
The first appointment
The purpose of the initial appointment (or initial assessment, as it is officially called), is to gather a comprehensive background and for me to get an understanding of your child. You will be asked about your child's current concerns, past experiences, and the reason you are reaching out for help at this time. We will go over a small amount of paperwork and then I will discuss a treatment plan with you that includes frequency of therapy (i.e., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly sessions) and what therapy will look like for your child. You may ask whatever questions you want regarding my treatment approach, my professional background and experiences, or anything else that is important to you. We will then set up our next appointments.
My therapeutic approach
Depending on your child's age, I predominantly utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on identifying problematic thought patterns and changing behaviors. We work on problem-solving and the development of coping skills. For younger kids, I use games and activities to teach new ways to mange impulses or negative thought patterns, which we practice in a variety of ways throughout the session. Sometimes, I will assign your child "homework" such as trying a new and healthy behavior or completing work sheets. I bring parents in at the end of each session to review the content we covered and what your child will be working on before next session. I also encourage parents to contact me in between sessions and provide updates on how your child is doing outside of therapy.
As mentioned previously, reasons for testing include assessing for attention and concentration problems, a learning disability, processing speed problems, or to determine your child's cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Testing can also help differentiate diagnosis.
For testing, you will still start off on the same path as above. The phone call will be the same and the initial assessment will be very similar. But instead of discussing the treatment plan at the end of the first appointment, I will go over the recommended testing battery with you. This entails explaining the purpose of the tests, reasons why I recommend each, the costs and insurance coverage, and the time frame for completing everything. We will then set up times for testing.
Depending on the purpose of testing and your child's schedule, the average testing client can expect between one and three testing sessions. However, this could vary if the battery is larger or if you have schedule restrictions that require breaking testing up into small chunks. Younger children also may require smaller chunks of testing to ensure reliable test data. Once testing is complete, I score everything myself (some places will have grad students or administrators do the scoring) to ensure accuracy. I then write a thorough and comprehensive report that includes the data, interpretation, and diagnostic summary. I also provide detailed recommendations for your child at home and school. Lastly, we do a feedback session where I go over the results and recommendations with you. You ask any questions you have and then we determine what happens next based on the final report. You are given the final report to keep and share with whomever you choose. My copy of the report is not shared with anyone unless you have given me written permission to do so. If we determine that the report should be shared with the school, we discuss how to do that and what my role will be in communicating with the school or assisting you with getting an IEP, 504, or other accommodations.
If you are interested in therapy or testing for your child or teen, do not hesitate to email or call me. I look forward to meeting you and your child or teen.