Teen/Tween Therapy Program Basics
Our teen/tween therapy program serves young people between the ages of 11-17. Child clients meet with their therapist on a weekly basis for at least 12 weeks virtually, in-person, or hybrid. In addition to weekly child-centered individual psychotherapy sessions, we offer additional parent-child sessions, parent-therapist consultation sessions, and direct collaboration with a child’s other settings (e.g. school), throughout the 12 weeks.
Our program is intended to support youth struggling with stress, identity challenges, trauma, social issues, family relationships, self-esteem, adoption and foster care issues, LGBTQIA+ issues, issues around race and ethnicity, and mild-to-mild-moderate severity of mental illnesses (e.g. anxiety, depression, mood disorders, OCD, etc.). We seek to intervene at a child’s initial signs of struggle to prevent them from needing higher levels of care and to reduce the need for any therapy overall.
Although we support many of our young clients for as long as they need us, our primary aim is to work so hard a child no longer needs any therapy at all.
What is therapy?
Psychotherapy is the use of specific treatment modalities to transform thoughts, feelings, and/or behavior that cause a child distress or interfere with their functioning, relationships, or personal growth.
Therapy is useful to even children who have lots of friend/family emotional support by helping improve those boundaries in relationships. For example, we've had teens tell us, "My therapist helps me figure out how to tell my parents how I feel." Parents of our clients have said, "Bringing my child to therapy means my child has a therapist and a mom instead of me trying to be both."
What modalities do you use?
Our clinicians utilize client-led evidence-based integrative practice. This means that they learn theories, train in modalities, and read research that are effective for their specialty areas of practice. Our clinicians then build a relationship and create a treatment plan with each client that integrates selected theories, modalities, and research that are most likely to be effective for that client.
Just a few of the modalities that we use include: EMDR, TFCBT, Narrative Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Life Story Therapy, Play Therapy, Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), and Motivational Interviewing (MI). We also use our own integration of techniques based on the overlapping features of the most research-validated trauma therapies.
Our Clinical Success Interventionists
Each therapy case is assigned a Clinical Success Interventionists (when available). Our CCIs are an additional line of communication between our practice and our client and family. Our CCIs help our families find resources, information, and referrals that contribute to meeting their child's mental health goals. They also serve as a line of communication with a child's doctor and school.
How can the program help?
Our program primarily helps kids achieve the social, emotional, and behavioral growth that that they need by creating the right therapeutic space for growth to occur.
Common goals include: a reduction in mental health symptoms, higher self-esteem and a more secure sense-of-self, better social interactions with others, stronger family relationships, improved coping skills, motivation to improve academic performance, grief/loss/transition processing, and trauma processing.
Our research-informed program structure
Our Tween/Teen Therapy Program follows our research-informed-practice structure. We seek to expedite a child’s healing and to reduce their time in therapy through creating optimal treatment conditions.
Timing: Youth Sessions are scheduled between 10AM and 4PM
We encourage families and schools to think about behavioral and emotional change as a form of learning. In order to learn best, young nervous systems require self-care and optimal learning conditions. This includes avoiding scheduling therapy sessions where heavy learning work takes place during times when a child is tired, hungry, or overstimulated. Additionally, research indicates that therapy tends to be most effective when scheduled in the morning.
We schedule children for therapy when they and their therapist are most likely to have the energy and bandwidth to make meaningful work of it - between 10AM and 4PM. We will provide a written excuse for any school time missed for therapy.
Frequency: Youth sessions are scheduled on a weekly basis for 12 weeks
Research shows that two of the most significant conditions of effective treatment are 1) a good relationship between the client and therapist; and 2) treatment interventions that address the client’s needs. Consistent and regular sessions help a clinician ensure they have built the relationship and the treatment plan a child needs to achieve their goals.
We require youth clients to attend weekly for at least 12 weeks without more than 1-2 absences. At the conclusion of 12 weeks, we evaluate the child’s progress and determine a plan forward - including scheduling adjustment if needed/possible.
Duration: Youth sessions are 45-50 minutes
Therapy is stimulating and difficult work even for adults with fully developed brains and nervous systems. To avoid a child becoming overstimulated and no longer benefitting from the session, we do not expect them to be able to sustain the work for the same length of time as adult clients.
Added Tools for Success
In addition to weekly sessions, parents have the option of meeting with their child's therapist for parenting consultation sessions - as needed/requested.
Our CCI keep in contact with the school to help ensure that any time in school missed due to therapy enhances academic performance rather than diminishes it.
Our CCI can help provide the information a child's pediatrician or psychiatrist may need to feel more confident prescribing medication - if needed.
Research-Informed Treatment Planning
Each case is supervised by our lead clinicians and a peer supervision team. A child's therapist and CCI spend significant time in training, reading literature, and processing their case to ensure the best treatment approaches are applied.
How do I pay for the program?
All sessions with a therapist (e.g. intakes, therapy, parent-child, parent consultation, school calls) are billed per hour at the time of each session - even if a scheduled session is cancelled. We accept HSA/FSA cards, debit, and credit.
To have a lead clinician (Amanda, Kristen, or Stephanie) assigned as a therapist, the fee is $180 per session. To have an intern clinician assigned as a therapist, the fee is $65 per session.
Please note that we are an out-of-network provider-only so as to maintain the high standards of our program without compromising with unethical insurance requirements and restrictions. This means we cannot bill directly to your insurance. However, clients who have out-of-network (OON) mental health benefits may be able to receive reimbursement from their insurance plan.
Clients with OON mental health benefits on their insurance plan often find that their costs for therapy are the same - or similar to - what they would have paid for a therapist who is in-network with their insurance company.
What is the process like?
Let’s take a look at our child therapy program process from start to finish. Here is what happens after a parent or guardian initially reaches out to inquire about therapy for their child.
We reach out to the parent to schedule a parent intake and a child intake.
We send our paperwork for signature via our virtual portal. All paperwork must be signed and payment information entered within 48 hours of the first intake or the intakes will be cancelled.
We conduct the parent/guardian intake session.
We conduct the child intake session.
If a child’s needs meet the scope of our program, the child is given a weekly recurring appointment on one of our clinician’s schedules for 12 weeks. Please be prepared to accept the appointment slots that are available.
If a child’s needs exceed the scope of our program we write an order or referral for the child to a higher level of care. We help facilitate that transition to a different provider.
During the first therapy session, the treatment plan is created and added to the client portal.
Treatment continues on a weekly basis for the next 10 weeks. Progress is monitored weekly.
Overall Progress Evaluation
On the 12th week of treatment, the child's progress is reviewed and adjustments are made. This may look like continuing treatment as is, adjusting session frequency if weekly is no longer needed, or referring a child to a different program if needed.
Most of our child clients opt to expand upon their progress after 12 weeks. Most often, they opt to set higher goals and work with their therapist on a weekly basis for at least 6 months and on a bi-weekly basis for at least a year.
We monitor this closely to ensure that the therapy remains beneficial to a child. Lingering in therapy without progress can cause clinical regression or stagnation and affect a child's self-esteem. That's why prioritizing a child's therapy in those first 12 weeks is so important.
What cases aren't appropriate for this program?
We help parents determine the appropriate level of care during the intake process. However, we understand that many parents want an idea of needs that fall outside of our scope of practice. Here are the most common:
Aggressive and Impulsive Behavior Issues
Drug, Alcohol, and Dual-Diagnosis Issues
Children with these issues are best served through Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and other specialty substance use programs.
Significant Risk of Suicide/Parasuicidal Behavior
Children with these issues are best served through programs like IOPs and intensive in-home family therapy (e.g. FBMHS).
Pervasive Emotional and Behavioral Challenges at School
Although we are happy to work with children who are struggling at school, some children may only improve at school if given direct support within the school setting. In these instances, children may require interventions outlined by a 504 Plan, an IEP, and/or another school-based behavioral health program in order to see progress within the school setting.
Severe, Chronic Delinquent Behavior
Children with these challenges are best served through more intensive programs like Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST).
Eating, Personality, Psychotic, and other Serious Disorders
These issues require care with specialists who are highly trained in helping clients navigate the disruption of these disorders to their health, wellbeing, and social functioning.
Learning, Speech/Language, and Sensory Issues
We are happy to help children heal from the emotional impact of navigating these disabilities in a world that isn't inclusive of disabled people. However, children with these challenges should also be working with the appropriate specialists (Special Education, SLP, OT, PT, etc.) as well.