I approach anxiety as a family issue, and believe treatment should actively involve parents and children together.
The Impact of Childhood Anxiety
Anxiety in children is all too common and sadly, when left untreated, is one of the strongest predictors of anxiety and depression later in life. Childhood fears and worries are normal, but excessive worrying and the cycle of behaviors that follow adversely influence a child’s learning, social development, and family life. For some, the impact can be severe.
Children who worry excessively or have phobias may be fearful about their health and safety. Others may be averse to beneficial medical procedures (e.g. shots and operations). Some have difficulty separating from parents, falling asleep, participating in competitive activities (sports, academic tests, artistic auditions), or simply attending and learning in school.
WHAT a child worries about, however, is less important than HOW children and parents get trapped in the process of anxiety…how a family unknowingly does what anxiety demands and thus creates more of what they are desperately trying to get rid of. At a time when a child’s world should be full of wonder and excited exploration, anxious children and teens are mired in behaviors of avoidance and withdrawal.
Treatment Options for Families
I do maintain a full private practice in Concord, New Hampshire, and at times take on a new family for ongoing therapy. Unfortunately I cannot work with the number of families who contact me for treatment, but I offer the following options for parents and their children:
Initial Two Hour Consultations
When I do have openings, I begin with a two hour session for parents alone or with parents and children together. This allows us together to determine if my approach will be a good fit and, if so, to decide how best to move forward with therapy. Parents are required to attend all sessions and the ability to schedule flexibly is a must. Evening and after school appointments are rarely open.
Intensive Family Consultations
At times, parents that live a distance away may decide that a trip to Concord for a few days of intensive work is a good treatment option. Typically families will come to Concord for 2 or 3 days and meet with me for several hours per day. The exact schedule is created for each individual family and circumstance. The most usual arrangement is two sessions (of two hours) on day one, and a two hour session on day two.
Small Group Parenting Intensives
These six hour, two night intensives are held a few times a year. Parents and other caregivers attend two 3-hour trainings scheduled one week apart, for example 6:00 to 9:00pm on consecutive Tuesdays. These workshops teach parents how to respond and react in ways that promote action over avoidance, and teach the skills—problem solving, tolerating uncertainty, emotional management—that families and schools need to handle stress and worry. During the meetings, ample time is provided for questions and answers, with specific ideas and solutions given to help with many common fears and anxieties. Registration is limited. My next intensive will be held in the spring of 2018.
When is your next workshop?
Check out the Events Calendar section on the site, or contact me about scheduling a customized workshop for your organization or team. I do many trainings for school districts, PTO’s, and professional organizations.
Because you are often not taking new clients, can you refer me to other therapists?
I often get requests for referrals that have a treatment approach similar to mine. Unfortunately, I cannot provide specific referrals. The best referrals often come from other parents, your school, or your pediatrician. Those most closely aligned to my approach would be specialists in anxiety (particularly with children and teens), use a cognitive-centered approach, involve parents as an integral part of treatment, and give you and your child consistent, active homework assignments between sessions.
Does insurance cover any of your services?
It may, but it depends on your insurance and the specific service provided. I am a licensed therapist (LICSW), so I have the credentials needed. I am not, by choice, “in-network” with any insurance plans, but some insurance plans allow you to see a clinician who is “out-of-network.” Before calling to schedule an appointment, please check with your insurance company and find out the available benefits for out-of-network behavioral health services.
Payment in full is required at the time of service. I do not submit claims to insurance companies, but will provide the necessary forms to you, so that you may seek reimbursement. In order to be reimbursed by your insurance company, you must:
- have out-of-network mental or behavioral health benefits
- meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis, as I must provide them with a diagnosis
- provide me with the necessary paperwork, which I will complete for you
- submit the forms to your insurance company and have them reimburse you directly