In individual therapy, our focus is to resolve the issues that bring people into counseling and to help establish or reestablish life as a thriving, nurturing process. The first step is to help identify the goals a person wants to accomplish. Then, using powerful yet gentle methods, our therapist facilitate growth to enliven and release the forces of positive growth already present within the patient. Our therapists are highly trained to help people resolve all life, career, family, and relationship difficulties or transitions. Each patient develops a treatment plan and goals with their therapist. Every treatment plan is individualized, and it is specific to the unique and diverse needs of each patient.
Through family therapy, families or individuals within a family learn different ways to interact with each other and resolve conflicts. Family therapy may include all family members or just those most able to participate. The specific treatment plan will depend on your family's situation. Families participate in family therapy for many different reasons. Sometimes the reasons are related to traumatic events, death, or dramatic changes. Sometimes the reasons are to facilitate growth and help adjust the family members into the evolving relationship patterns or life cycle stages. Research indicates that when a child is struggling, family therapy has the greatest odds of resolving the core problems quickly and the family significantly improves as a result.
Group therapy is a form of counseling in which a small number of people come together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another. The therapy has been widely used and has been a standard and effective treatment option for over 50 years. In group, not only do individuals receive tremendous understanding, support, and encouragement from others facing similar issues, but they also gain different perspectives, ideas, and viewpoints on those issues. Group therapy, like individual therapy, is a powerful vehicle for growth and change and is intended to help people who would like to gain support, increase self-awareness, and learn new ways to cope with life’s challenges.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a brief form of psychotherapy used in the treatment of adults and children with many types of mental health conditions. Its focus is on current issues and symptoms versus more traditional forms of therapy which tend to focus on a person's history. The usual format is weekly therapy sessions coupled with daily practice exercises designed to help the patient apply CBT skills in their home environment.
Play Therapy is a unique therapeutic intervention for people of any age. Young children find it especially difficult to know what to say or how to express themselves in a way that is meaningful to adults. In play therapy, a variety of toys become the child’s words and the way they play becomes their language. The role of the play therapist is to understand the language and help facilitate change. The relationship between the child and therapist is based on total acceptance of the child. When entering the special play room, filled with age appropriate toys, children are encouraged to play with the toys in many of the ways they want to. Our staff are trained in nine different play therapy techniques. We have certified play therapists, as well as several therapists who are trained but not certified.
Play therapy techniques are helpful in situations that involve:
Ask us about providing play therapy to older teens or adults. We believe that all people use play to express our deepest concerns. We encourage adults to seek therapy for themselves at our play center. This technique is especially helpful for patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, sudden or significant grief or loss, and chronic pain.
Sandtray is an expressive and dynamic play process that is used by children, adolescents, individual adults, couples, families and groups in the presence of a trained Sandtray therapist.
The client is invited to create a world in the tray by making patterns in the sand or by placing objects into the Sandtray in any configuration that feels right. Everyone is encouraged to play with the sand exactly as they wish. There is no right or wrong way to play.
Meaningful images, dilemmas, fears, hopes and dreams can be accessed through the Sandtray, allowing conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche to interact. The therapist neither analyzes nor interprets the sand-world. The meaning of the play emerges as the client experiences it and shares it with the therapist. The outcome is often a feeling of rightness and truth for the client.
Sandtray translates personal experience into a concrete, three-dimensional form. As “a picture can say more than a thousand words,” a figure or scene can express feelings, emotions and conflicts that previously had no verbal language. Hence, the sand-worlds that are created offer a rich and highly personalized vocabulary for pre-verbal or non-verbal experience. Without having to depend on words, clients can increase their capacity for expression through the tray. Self-awareness and communication are enhanced by this process. Once some aspect of the self has been made tangible in the Sandtray, the ability to experience it, share it with another, experiment with it, play with it, change it, revise it, and learn from it, is all possible. We can welcome and work creatively with whatever shows up in the tray. Internal struggles and tensions can be played out. Familiar “stuck” patterns may loosen and the beginnings of new, more satisfying ways of being may emerge. Many people may find making difficult decisions is made easier with the help of a sand tray therapist.
Filial Play Therapy is an approach used by play therapists to train parents to be therapeutic agents with their own children. Parents are taught basic child-centered play therapy principles and skills, including reflective listening, recognizing and responding to children's feelings, therapeutic limit setting, building children's self-esteem, and structuring. Parents are coached on how to provide weekly play sessions with their children using selected toys. The therapist typically utilizes demonstration play sessions, role-playing, group discussion, videotapes, and supervision in a supportive atmosphere to educate parents. Parents learn how to create a warm, nonjudgmental, unconditionally accepting, and understanding environment in which their child feels safe to explore the parent-child relationship and themselves, including fears, desires, feelings, and struggles.
Communication gaps between parents and children may exist because many parents are unaware of their children's emotional needs and lack the skills necessary to interact effectively with them on an emotional level. Children communicate through play. It is their innate language. By teaching parents the language of play, and how to use play therapeutically, the communication gap between parent and child can be closed.
Filial therapy is an alternative method for treating emotionally disturbed children in which the parent is used as an ally in the therapeutic process. Parental involvement in a child's developmental process facilitates the parent's motivation to continue sessions and thus tends to eliminate the typical parental resistance that is encountered when the parent is not involved in the child's therapy. When children are permitted to express themselves without losing status in the eyes of their parents the children's anxiety diminishes. The child feels validated and valued and can master difficulties and feelings rather than try to distort and deny them. As these changes occur and the child experiences the parent in a new manner, the child begins to understand his or her sense of worth. Frustrations and hostilities diminish as the communication gap is bridged.
The parent sometimes learns a different way to set limits on the child's behavior when needed. While maintaining acceptance of the child's feelings and desires, the parent learns to facilitate the child's expression in socially appropriate manners rather than overt, disruptive, harmful means.
Animal Assisted Play Therapy® (AAPT) is a full integration of play therapy with animal-assisted therapy, primarily for mental health/psychotherapy and education purposes. It is valuable in helping children, adolescents, and adults. AAPT ensures the safety and well being of all animals involved.
The feature that most distinguishes AAPT from other forms of animal assisted therapy is the systematic inclusion and encouragement of play and playfulness as the primary means of expressing feelings, developing relationships, and resolving psychosocial problems. AAPT comprises five different core values; respect, safety, enjoyment, acceptance, and relationship and is a process-oriented therapy. While sessions of this form of therapy may seem focused on learning a new skill or topic, the most important thing of therapy is the process of learning this skill harmoniously with the animal, client, and therapist.
AAPT is grounded in well-established theories and practices in terms of child development, clinical intervention, play therapy, family therapy, and humane animal treatment. Adherence to these principles and foundations are designed to insure a positive, relationship-based, best practice approach.
Several treatment techniques are available for treating symptoms of trauma. Our clinicians are specially trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and other well-known trauma healing approaches. Traumatic situations can cause symptoms of flashbacks, poor memory, sleep disturbance, obsessive thoughts, excessive worrying, separation anxiety, and other disabling effects. Treating trauma as soon as possible is the best way to prevent it from becoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can be very disabling to a person suffering from trauma symptoms.
Our clinicians are trained specialists to help families cope with lifestyle and deployment related concerns. Our therapists are highly trained in all areas that affect families who have a loved one in the military. Some of our more experienced therapists have worked at the Veteran’s Hospital or have lived in military families themselves; therefore, they bring a unique perspective and ability to offer pragmatic solutions to the problems families face when a caregiver or loved one is deployed overseas or have experienced the types of disruption military life can have on a family.
Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) are intended to build skills to help decrease symptoms and behaviors associated with a diagnosed psychological disorder. Services also include instructional strategies to help the family cope with the individual's symptoms and manage his/her behaviors.
The program focus is on mental health recovery and promoting individual resilience. Recovery refers to the ability to live a fulfilling and productive life despite a disability and/or a reduction of symptoms. Resilience has to do with the personal and community qualities that enable a person to rebound from problems, tragedy, and stress and live with competency and hope.
Individuals receiving BHIS begin with a behavioral health assessment. The assessment determines a diagnosis and recommendations for service. This written recommendation is basically a prescription for services.
BHIS for youth are provided to children and adolescents under 21 years of age (and their families) to restore the child’s mental health function to the level of other children that age and ability. The child must have the capability to learn the desired behaviors.
BHIS for adults are provided to individuals who are 18 years of age and older to restore their mental health functioning. These services are skill-building interventions intended to improve behavior and symptoms associated with a psychological disorder. The interventions are intended to reduce or eliminate psychological barriers that interfere with an individual’s ability to successfully manage their symptoms. They are also intended to assist the individual in maximizing their ability to live and participate in the community.
Interventions are designed to reduce or alleviate a diagnosed mental health condition that impacts areas of communication, conflict resolution, social skills, problem-solving skills, and employment– related skills thus improving interpersonal relationship skills.
Parenting is a tough job, especially if your child has special needs. Our goal is to make things a little easier for families to meet their children’s needs, so that everyone is happier and more secure. Care Coordination allows for access to a Masters-level clinician, school and medical advocacy, and the development of informal supports to help sustain the child the home, their own community, and in their school. Care Coordination is an optional service that is provided at no cost to children receiving services at the Grace C Mae Advocate Center.