FAQ’s for Child and Adolescent Anxiety Counseling in Clayton, Missouri.
You may have a few questions before you decide to work with me.
I do my best to update this regularly if any information changes, or if I hear from a few people asking the same questions. If you’d like an answer to a question and you can’t find it here, please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email!
How long does treatment last?
Clients commit to at least 12 sessions, if we decide we’re a good fit following session 1. We’ll check in on progress every single week, and after the end of 12 weeks we’ll evaluate if we’re reaching goals. The kids and teens I work with really make a marked improvement when we commit to at least three months.
At the end of those 12 weeks, we either graduate from counseling, finish out services with a referral to someone else, or we continue to work together on another identified concern.
What if it’s not working?
Typically, the kids and teens I work with start to feel better by session 2 or session 3. If things aren’t improving by session 6 or 7, we’re going to change up the approach to make sure that it’s a good fit. And if we decide together that we’re not making progress at the rate we want, we’ll look at referring you out to another therapist, parent coach, or other resource.
How do we let you know that we’re ready to finish?
The kids, teens, and college students I work with usually notice a marked improvement by session 2 or session 3. Although they make a lot of changes initially, it takes time to sustain the positive growth. That’s the goal - that your child or teen is (or you are!) better able to handle challenges and stressors long term, not just feeling better when the crisis is over.
Because I work with so many minors, I know how important it is for kids and teens to have proper closure. Rather than a parent telling me last minute that it’s our final session, I ask that parents give me 30 days’ notice to make sure that we can properly terminate and close up our work together - rather than a kid or teen feeling like, all of a sudden, I’m no longer available. Counseling digs into some deep, important stuff - and to best honor that relationship, we want to make sure that you, as well as your child, are ready to move forward.
Can we really tell that things are improving?
I’m really big into tracking the data of what’s going on. I have every client fill out a weekly outcomes scale, and a weekly session rating scale. Because I’m pretty nerdy about the numbers, I graph the score each week. This way we can be really proactive about addressing concerns. The best predictor of a good clinical outcome is that therapeutic relationship, which we track through the session rating scale - so, the most important part of counseling is finding a therapist who is a good fit for you.
Why do you require weekly sessions?
From tracking outcomes and doing the research, I know that weekly session work best for my clients. We actually progress a lot faster instead of taking two steps forward and one step back.
What’s your availability?
Rather than worrying about scheduling a different time every single week, I set aside a weekly appointment time that’s protected for you - I won’t schedule anyone else during your time.
I’m in the office Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and see clients from 9:30 am to 5 pm. My schedule does get pretty busy, and I know how important it is to get you into counseling when you’re ready. So, if you’re unable to commit to a weekly time from what session slots I have available, I want to be sure to refer you out to someone who may be able to better accommodate that scheduling need.
Once you’re an established client, I’ll be sure to offer you new appointment times before opening it up to the public.
Can we meet after school?
If I have an afternoon session time become available, I give first dibs to my current clients. Typically, sessions are more available for new clients during the morning. If you’re able to at least start with morning sessions, knowing that I can’t guarantee an afternoon time, let’s set up an intake call to see if we’re a good fit.
If you can really only make after school work and I have no afternoon slots available, contact me and I’m happy to provide referrals to other therapists or counselors in the St. Louis area who may have a more flexible schedule.
What’s your cancellation policy, especially during cold and flu season?
Kids and teens get sick! Grown-ups get sick, too. I previously worked in schools, so I know how germs get passed around. That being said, our most important goal is maintaining clinical progress.
I require 48 hours’ notice for cancellation, even if you or your child is home sick. If you’re unable to come into the office, we can do a phone session or a video session (phone sessions usually aren’t reimbursable by insurance, but video sessions may be). If you’re starting to feel sick more than 48 hours before our appointment, let me know and I’m happy to take you off the schedule! It’s a lot easier for me to fit in another client who needs to meet when you give me enough advanced notice.
If I’m sick or if I cancel, you won’t be expected to pay for that missed session.
What about if the weather is bad?
Even with bad weather, I do require a 48 hour cancellation to make sure we maintain good clinical progress. We can always meet over the phone or do a video session instead. If I feel like the weather is really bad or am unable to make it to the office, you won’t pay for the scheduled session. That being said, if we both have internet access, I expect to be able to meet for at least a brief chat over the computer or over the phone during your scheduled time.
Do you provide play therapy?
I use many different interventions in counseling, including play therapy interventions, art therapy interventions, mindfulness and yoga practice, along with CBT, ACT, PCIT, etc. I’m pursuing trauma-informed yoga certification and theraplay certification in spring 2019.
No “one size fits all” approach.
With anxiety, overwhelm, and anger management, the most important component of work is helping you and your child feel like those emotions are less out of control. So, I tailor my approach to each client - and we make sure that we’re really hitting the nail on the head with regular check ins.
How do you keep my/my child’s counseling and treatment information secure?
All client records are stored in a cloud based system with bank level encryption that is HIPAA certified, encrypted, and kept secure. Here is an up to date list of all the ways your information remains secure: https://www.simplepractice.com/security