A: Yes. We are credentialed with Aetna, Mountain Health Co-op, PacificSource Brightidea, Select Health, Blue Cross, United, and Medicaid. We also accept private pay clients.
A: No. I would encourage you to see a child psychiatrist to determine if your child needs medication for mental health issues, and what kind.
A: For heaven’s sake, if your child is throwing up or has a fever, please keep him home! I will gladly cancel a session for no additional fee for that reason! However, please keep in mind that if this becomes a pattern, the cancellation policy will again go into effect.
A: That is so great that your child has such a wonderful group of support from the family! In the initial appointment, although it is longer, I encourage only the immediate legal guardians/caregivers of the child to be present. This is for several reasons–one being that there may be too many cooks in the kitchen if more adults come and it can become overwhelming for everyone and difficult for me to get a clear picture of what the parent/caregiver actually concerned about. If there are individuals or organizations important for me to contact, they will be discussed and identified in session and I can contact them at another time, and only after a Release of Information is signed. Also, there is limited space in the waiting room and in my office, so keep that in mind as well.
A: Homework between sessions for the child and/or the parent(s) is almost a guarantee with me, I’m just going to be honest. I see your child for hour, or MAYBE two if it’s more intensive, the entire week. The rest of the time, he is with you. Although I wish I had a magic wand, it is highly unlikely that your child and you will learn everything you need to know AND be able to do it perfectly when needed with practicing one hour a week with me. That last part is key. Much of what I do is skills based, even with attachment work. Practicing the skills and techniques, or doing observations, etc., between sessions is imperative to making steady progress in therapy—and getting out of it faster. I absolutely love what I do, but I want people out of therapy as quickly as appropriate so they can go and enjoy their lives and not worry about this stuff anymore. Wouldn’t that be great?!
A: It is typically best practice to have an individual see only one therapist for that issue. If there are two therapists working on the same issue with the same child, this could cause not only confusion for the child, but also the treatment plans and/or therapeutic modalities used could counteract each other. This could actually do more harm than good. If your child is currently in therapy, but you feel unsatisfied with some aspect of it, I would encourage you to discuss your concerns with your current therapist. After that, if you both decide it best to part ways, I am happy to discuss beginning therapy with your child once that therapy has ended. Of course, if there is, for example, a family therapist involved working on family issues, and you would like your child to have an individual therapist to work on her own individual issues, that is fine. In many instances, it can be in the child’s best interest to be in both family and individual therapy at the same time.
A: It is important to know that the client (or his/her legal guardian) owns the right to confidentiality, not me. I cannot talk to anyone who does not have legal guardianship over the child or who is not directly my client without express written permission. This is called a Release of Information (ROI). If you want me to speak with someone, I need to have that form signed BEFORE I speak with someone other than the child and his/her legal guardian.
A: Although stuff typically comes out in therapy, especially if there is trauma already known about, I am not a forensic investigator, and I do not encourage fishing expeditions to determine if something has happened. Firstly, because it may do more harm than good to the child. Secondly, it could cause issues with any criminal or civil case that may result from any findings. Lastly, I have no power to intervene on behalf of you or your child if there is maltreatment occurring except for contacting Child Protection Services and the police. Therefore, if you feel that there is a safety concern, you should immediately contact your county Department of Human Services or Child Protection Services and/or the police.
A: It is so tough to see your child suffering and not know how or the best way to help! First of all, please know that not all children who experience trauma have a traumatic response and need therapy. However, if you have noticed a significant change in your child that is impacting sleeping, eating, typical interactions, school functioning, friendships, etc., then it may be important to consider therapy, even if the child resists talking about what happened. In most cases, the more you try to avoid thinking about something, the more you actually think about it anyway. Talking about it won’t make it worse because chances are it’s already there. They just need to be able to process it. Look at it this way: if your child had a broken leg, would you avoid going to the doctor to get it checked out and fixed because your child wanted to pretend it didn’t happen or was afraid it might hurt? No way! It’s affecting the way they move, how they can interact with people, you can tell it hurts and it bothers them greatly. It’s negatively impacting their way of life! However, even though you know it might hurt to set it, and it’ll be hard for both you and the child to see the pain that he might have to go through, in time it will heal and get better. After treatment, you may not even be able to tell it was ever broken at all!
A: My first priority is the safety of my client. As a therapist, I am a mandated reporter, which means that BY LAW I MUST contact social services if there is a report of child abuse or maltreatment. My preference is to talk with the parent about the issue and then call social services together. However, I will do what I feel is in the best interest of the child under the parameters of the law. All of this, however, will be discussed in detail in the initial appointment.
A: I’ve seen this happen more often when treatment is occurring due to trauma. Usually when this happens, it is because we are starting to talk more in depth about the trauma. This is uncomfortable, and sometimes outright scary to the child (and the parents!) but it makes sense. Since one of the hallmarks of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is avoidance, this is not an uncommon reaction. My advice is to use the skills and techniques already discussed and to keep consistently going so you can continue to learn more. Further, please tell me about it because it is diagnostically and therapeutically significant for your child. I can’t help you with something if I don’t know what is going on. Let me know and we can work together with your child. If you think about it, I’m not really doing my job if things are always rosy and no one is stretched to go to the uncomfortable place that was the original reason for treatment in the first place. But at the same time, I don’t want therapy to be scary and something to be feared. Even though we’re talking about some heavy stuff sometimes, typically I try to make it fun and interesting–but most of all a safe place to get out the yucky stuff so they can get on with their lives!
A: I’ll be blunt: I’m not interested in getting in the middle of a custody battle. Bringing your child’s therapist to court can be a dangerous gamble. Unless court was involved in the therapy from the beginning (such as with a drug or family court mandating the child receive therapy and it is understood by the client from the beginning that I would have to submit some kind of consistent report on behalf of the client to the court in order to satisfy the court’s orders), having a therapist testify in court can fundamentally change the relationship the therapist has with the child, and not in a positive way. The child may become afraid to say things in session for fear that it will end up court, especially if he has the perception that what he tells me will hurt a parent or take him away from a parent. Obviously, if I am subpoenaed, I will obey the law and be present at the hearing for which I have been legally summoned. I will do my best in every circumstance to keep the confidentiality and the trust of the child and family within the limits the law allows.
A: Absolutely! Whether you are still married, living together, separated, divorced, a stepparent, or just want to co-parent for whatever reason, this is certainly something I can help with! It’s one of my favorite things to do in my job!
A: That is fabulous that your child has made so much progress in therapy! But please keep in mind that there can be different reactions to therapy. Some kids do better immediately and continue to feel better, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better, and even other times, there are various storms between various calm spells. Suddenly terminating therapy, even if your child seems “okay” can be risky, so I would encourage any discussion of ending therapy to occur as soon as you start having serious thoughts about terminating therapy. Even if we disagree on whether or not therapy ends, it is typically better for the child to have a few “termination sessions” so that the relationship with the therapist is not so abruptly broken. Remember that this can be an important relationship that has occurred in your child’s life, and suddenly breaking it can have unintended negative consequences.