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Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you see clients?

My sessions are 100% virtual, always. So I can see clients who are physically located anywhere in Virginia, Vermont, and (soon) New York, which are the states in which I am licensed.

How much is this therapy going to cost me?

I charge $300 per session, but I do have an income-based sliding fee scale. In terms of the number of sessions needed, I usually meet with families for an average of 4-6 sessions. This tends to be enough time to set up an effective parenting system that includes a reward system for inspiring your child to do the right thing, and meaningful disciplinary consequences that will make your child try to avoid doing the “wrong thing”. If your child lacks critical skills he or she needs in order to make better choices, we might spend a few sessions working on teaching those skills. Those skills training sessions range from an additional 1-5 sessions, depending on how many skills you identify your child as needing. For those individuals who are grappling with OCD, the number of sessions that we need will depend on how entrenched your OCD compulsions are, and how much time and energy you are able to devote to doing Exposure and Response Prevention exercises between sessions.

What will my child get out of behavior therapy?
Kids want to know what they can do to make their parents happy. They also deserve to know what will happen when they don’t meet expectations. When I work with parents to develop a parenting system for their family, we make both of these things crystal clear. We then make sure you know how to reward your child (with praise, privileges, or even things) in a way that will help build their self-concept, independence, and social skills. I can help you implement discipline that is very effective but not shaming, overly punitive, harsh, or delivered in a way that involves yelling and conflict. This creates more peaceful homes, which is of course essential for thriving, happy, healthy children.
What type of therapy do you do?
I am a behavior therapist, which means that I help people use strategies proven by research to be effective in changing behavior. This approach encompasses working with parents to address their children’s challenging behavior, working with kids to teach them behavioral skills for managing feelings and situations, or working with individuals who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to reduce the hold that OCD has on their lives through Exposure and Response Prevention (a sub-type of behavior therapy).
How frequently do you meet with clients?
I usually meet with clients once a week for the first few weeks, and then we adjust the session frequency according to what makes most sense for you. For OCD clients, we may meet more often to help support your or your child’s efforts with Exposure and Response Prevention exercises.
Who is the client?
The person with the challenging behaviors is the client. If you are a parent seeking help for your child, then your child is the client.
Do you ever offer in-person sessions?
No, I do not.
Since sessions are virtual, can I attend sessions even if I am away on vacation or out of state for some other reason?
No. I can only see clients when they are physically located in a state in which I am licensed at the time of our session.
Do you take insurance?
No, I do not take insurance. I do provide a detailed receipt with all of the codes necessary for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
I’ve tried play therapy for my child before, but it wasn’t all that helpful. How will this be different?

Behavior therapy does not start with kids, it starts with parents. This is because kids are often not motivated to change their behavior, or they don’t know the skills needed to choose different behaviors. We need to teach those skills through everyday experiences (not in the therapy room), and then make sure that kids feel that there is a positive pay-off for putting in the effort. It is also essential to make sure that if your child chooses to engage in negative behaviors, your disciplinary response is meaningful – i.e., something that they want to avoid – while never being overly punitive. Your actions as a parent are way more likely to impact your child’s behavioral choices than any kind of 1:1 talk or play therapy.

How long does it take before things will get better?
Behavior therapy is very effective, and very quick to yield positive changes, however, it does require you to take action. Depending on the presenting issue, I may be able to help you vastly reduce your child’s challenging behaviors in just one session. More often this takes 4-6 sessions because we are setting up a whole parenting system that emcompasses rewards and discipline. People with OCD can experience relief after just a couple of sessions, provided they are able to follow through with ERP homework. Everything I do is focussed on what you can do in your life outside of the therapy session, so how quickly things will get better is completely dependent on whether or not you do your “homework”.
My child has been resistant to going to therapy. If my child is the client, how do I make him/her go?
First, I never want to meet with a child if they don’t want to meet with me. That is just counter-productive. Secondly, if the client is a child, then the first sessions are for parents only. This gives us time to put some parenting practices into place without the child thinking these things are all my idea. They need to believe that you are the boss and you are deciding to make these parenting decisions on your own. Seeing me advise you as to what to do as a parent will undermine your authority, and that is absolutely the opposite of what I want to accomplish! Often, once we get the parenting system in place, kids are excited about the idea of meeting with me if parents tell them that I can teach them some more ways for them to earn rewards. So if additional skills training with your child is needed to teach him/her alternative ways to behave besides their usual challenging behaviors, it’s usually not hard to get them invested in meeting with me.
When do you want to meet my child?
I usually see significant positive change in children’s behavior after 4-6 sessions with parents only. Often, parents are much happier with things at that point, and they are ready to be done with behavior therapy. Sometimes, kids are still engaging in some specific negative behaviors, or it is clear that they need to learn some additional skills (like dealing with frustration, controlling impulses, understanding and facing up to anxiety, etc.). If that is needed, then that is when I typically meet with children – but parents are always present so you can remind and reward kids for using skills in everyday situations between sessions.
Can I talk to you before scheduling a session to see if you are a good fit for my family’s needs?
Of course! I am always happy to schedule a brief phone chat to discuss your situation and let you know if and how I think I might be able to help. Send me an email to get that scheduled here.

Offering concrete solutions and real help to parents of children and teens with challenging behaviors

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