The course of treatment is a constant interplay between assessment, exploration, goal setting, treatment planning and practice. In general, the structure includes an intake assessment over the course of 1-2 sessions where I gather preliminary information about your current struggles, their origins, your medical and family history. This information will help conceptualize your case. From that point on, we will move towards setting treatment goals, and plan a treatment course. As I mentioned, this phase is organic and evolves with you as new insights emerge. Once progress is made, we work on helping you maintain your gains and ultimately terminate treatment. Ending well is rare in life. I take the termination phase and our last session seriously. Whether it is premature or timely, I strongly prefer a meaningful parting rather than a disappearing act.
Treatment with Adults:
We will start with an intake session (90 minutes). The sessions that follow will typically be 50 minutes long and occur once a week, unless we decide otherwise. During these sessions we will engage in goal setting, treatment planning, discuss your expectations, prognosis, provide you with psychoeducation specific to the presenting concerns and work on goal attainment.
It is essential for your psychiatrist and I to collaborate on your treatment. I routinely collaborate with primary care providers as needed. In addition, I may ask to consult with your previous therapist for a one time consult or ask to speak with school personal if it seems necessary to address a specific academic or school related concerns. On occasion, I have found it helpful to collaborate with significant others, peers, extended family members, caregivers or parents of young adult clients, in order to facilitate treatment. Our loved ones can at times unintentionally make the problem worse by providing help that relieves suffering in the short term but prolongs or exacerbate the problem in the long term.
Please note that all collaborations will require your explicit written permission that can be withdrawn at any time. Rationale for seeking consultation or collaboration will be provided and discussed at length.
Treatment with Children and Adolescents:
Based on personal experience, I prefer to meet with the parents for an intake first (90 minutes) and schedule a separate session to meet with the child or adolescent (50 minutes). I find this schedule helps streamline the evaluation process, however exceptions can be made on a case by case basis. Following the assessment period we will engage in goal setting, treatment planning, discuss treatment expectations, prognosis, psychoeducation specific to the presenting concerns and work on goal attainment using creative and developmentally appropriate ways to engage the young client in treatment.
Role of parents:
Parental involvement is an important component in a child or adolescents’s treatment course. The role that parents play in treatment can vary over the course of treatment. For instance, you may be asked to be:
A consultant: someone who provides valuable information that helps me understand my young client and their troubles better.
A collaborator: help implement and extend the treatment processes at home and outside the session so that my young client can have ample opportunities to practice skills learned in treatment.
A co-client: Parents have a substantial influence on their child’s learning processes and mental health. Research suggests that even with the best of intentions, parents can contribute to their child’s difficulties. If we find this the case, you will be invited to sessions as a “co-client.” In the event that you need more extensive help, you will be referred to a different provider who can give you the attention you deserve to address your concerns. Delegating parent training to a different provider leaves me free to devote my time and resources to help my client while you get the help you need to improve the quality of your life and benefit the well being of my client/your child.
It is essential for me to collaborate with your child’s psychiatrist. I may routinely collaborate with your child’s primary care provider, ask for a one time consult with your child’s previous therapist or ask to speak with school personnel if it is deemed necessary (e.g. to implement a behavior program in the classroom, address bullying etc.).
In some cases, I have found it helpful to collaborate with extended family members or your child’s peers or significant other. It is not uncommon for our loved ones to unintentionally make the problem worse by providing help that relieves suffering in the short term but prolongs or exacerbates the problem in the long term.
Please note that all collaborations will require parents’ explicit permission that can be withdrawn at any time. Attempts will be made to obtain the child’s verbal permission. Rationale for seeking consultation or collaboration will be provided and discussed at length.