Psychological Services Available at TCCP
Introduction to Therapy
Children and adolescents present a wide variety of problems and struggles. These range from academic difficulties and developmental delays, to problems with anxiety or feelings of depression, behavior problems, eating disorders, peer relations, and family relations.
Addressing the range of problems with which children and adolescents can struggle requires a wide variety of techniques and methodologies. These may include assessments, traditional talking therapy, play therapy, family therapy and parent counseling. At times referrals to other health care professionals may be indicated for medication, hearing, speech or language evaluations, or medical evaluations.
Therapy typically begins with an initial Intake interview in which a preliminary understanding of the problems being experienced is developed. This may be followed by a more extensive evaluation that can include a thorough history of development, health, education, family and peer relationships, etc. Behavior rating scales may be provided to gather information that is more specific from parents and teachers. Formal testing of intellectual functioning, academic progress, personality functioning, and specific symptom assessments such as depression or anxiety measures may follow. After the initial assessment, a treatment plan is usually developed in cooperation with the family, and this plan may be modified during the course of treatment if appropriate.
Evaluations are conducted for the purpose of answering specific questions regarding an individual's development, intellectual functioning, academic achievement, personality functioning, neurological functioning, and social and behavioral functioning. Evaluations may be conducted through interview, self report, or formalized and experimentally validated tests. Psychological evaluations are conducted to answer questions brought up by parents, the school, or the psychologist. Evaluations conducted at Tulsa Center for Child Psychology include:
- Neuropsychological Evaluations are administered to answer questions regarding problems with memory, executive functions, visual motor integration, etc. and to aid in the diagnosis of ADHD and similar disorders.
Developmental Evaluations help to identify delays in development as well as strengths; diagnose developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders; make recommendations for intervention; and determine eligibility for additional services.
Psychological Evaluations are used to identify specific emotional and behavioral problems which may be interfering with a child's social, academic or family functioning, and includes issues such as depression, anxiety, problems with anger management or conflicts with authority figures.
Comprehensive Psycho-Educational Evaluation integrate neuropsychological testing with educational assessment. They include diagnostic assessment for treatment and educational planning, including documentation of accommodation needs for independent schools, as well as colleges and universities.
Please contact us directly if you are uncertain whether your questions fall under one of these categories.
Individual therapy with children and adolescents may take many different forms. With younger children, for example, PLAY THERAPY may help to reveal a child's conflicts, and his or her usual ways of dealing with them. In play therapy, the therapist typically follows the child’s lead, and gives verbal expression to what they observe in the child’s play, which helps the child develop more effective ways of dealing with these issues.
Other treatment techniques have been developed for younger children than have proven to be very effective in addressing a variety of anxiety issues, social skill deficits, and emotional regulation. These techniques are more directive and follow a more specific course, although modifications can always be made to address an individual child's needs.
Therapy with older children and adolescents resemble more TRADITIONAL VERBAL THERAPY where the individual is capable of expressing their concerns or difficulties and the therapist more directly helps them develop effective means of addressing them. In other situations therapy may be directed more toward supporting the child’s efforts to cope with difficult life changes such as illness, moves, divorce, or the death of someone close to them. In these situations, therapy may “simply” involve an objective listener reflecting back to the child his or her reactions to this experience and guiding their efforts to rebuild their lives.
Traditional play therapy and individual therapy are the cornerstones of treatment for children and adolescents. At TCCP, a variety of empirically supported treatments have been incorporated into these to address the emotional, behavioral and social difficulties our clients are experiencing. These include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used to teach skills to address negative emotions and develop appropriate ways to manage thoughts and behaviors associated with them. Often times, empirically supported treatment manuals are used in session to treat conditions such as depression, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and tic disorders.
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) uses reinforcers to help teach new skills and shape behaviors in young and developmentally delayed individuals. Caregivers are actively involved in treatment to generalize skills in everyday life.
- Behavioral interventions treat physiological issues, including those of children and adolescents with medical conditions. Treatments include learning to swallow pills, treatment compliance, pain management, injury prevention, sleep behaviors, feeding difficulties, medical trauma, adjustment to diagnosis, toileting issues, biofeedback training and school accommodations.
- Social skills training helps to enhance problem-solving, decision making, communication, self-management, and peer relations abilities that play a central role in social relationships with others.
Family Therapy and Parent Counseling
Problems children experience may reflect difficulties in their family setting. This does not imply that the parents are to blame for the child’s struggles, but does suggest that improvement in communication and interaction would benefit the entire family. In such situations, family therapy will be recommended.
In other circumstances, parents may feel at a loss as to how to respond to their children’s behavior. In these situations, parents are helped to strategize more effective means of addressing the problematic or confusing behaviors they observe in their children. Again, this is not to assign blame but to bring into the family system the skills and techniques necessary to ensure the healthy development of its children
The specific therapies necessary to address the unique problems each family experiences prevents the use of “cookie-cutter” treatments. Your treatment plan will be developed taking these unique characteristics in consideration along with the use of those techniques found to be most effective with the problems presented.
As with Individual therapy, there are several empirically supported treatments that can be used in family therapy. These include:
- Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a treatment for children with disruptive behaviors. PCIT emphasizes improving the nature of the relationship by changing how the parent and child interact. Parents are taught specific skills to develop a strong, positive relationship with their child while increasing the child's pro-social behavior and reducing the child's undesirable behaviors. PCIT is most effective with children ages 2-7. For more information, go to http://www.pcit.org/
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT) utilizes cognitive restructuring, behavioral coping, and gradual exposure to help the child manage their reactions to trauma reminders and to become more comfortable in sharing their story. Caregivers are encouraged to be actively involved in treatment.
Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is a treatment intervention for children from birth through age 5 who have experienced at least one traumatic event (e.g., maltreatment, the sudden or traumatic death of someone close, a serious accident, sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence) and, as a result, are experiencing behavior, attachment, and/or mental health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The primary goal of CPP is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and his or her parent (or caregiver) as a vehicle for restoring the child's sense of safety, attachment, and appropriate affect and improving the child's cognitive, behavioral, and social functioning.
Referral to other Professionals
While the professionals working within TCCP can address most issues, there will be times when referral to other professionals is deemed to be in the child’s best interest. These would involve issues related to the problems the child is experiencing, yet which fall outside the realm of psychology, including the possible need for medication, specific non-psychological evaluations such as physicals, speech and language evaluations, hearing evaluations, or neurological evaluations by a physician. These referrals will be made in consultation with the parents and the child’s physician.
Should a situation arise in which the safety of your child is at risk, the staff of TCCP will assist you in selecting an appropriate hospital setting. Should your child’s problems become so severe and debilitating that they are unable to benefit from outpatient counseling, referral to a more intensive level of treatment will be made, again in consultation with the family. The staff of TCCP is familiar with a number of programs, both in and out of Oklahoma, which may best meet your needs.