Individual and Family Services
Social Skills Groups
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an empirically-supported treatment for conduct-disordered young children that places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns. In PCIT, parents are taught specific skills to establish a nurturing and secure relationship with their child while increasing their child’s prosocial behavior and decreasing negative behavior. This treatment focuses on two basic interactions: Child Directed Interaction (CDI) is similar to play therapy in that parents engage their child in a play situation with the goal of strengthening the parent-child relationship; Parent Directed Interaction (PDI) resembles clinical behavior therapy in that parents learn to use specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child.
Potential Risks and Benefits of PCIT
PCIT is a lot of work AND it is often a lot of fun. There are potential risks of participating in PCIT that parents should consider as they make the commitment to PCIT. One such risk is the possibility of frustration during the initial stage of the treatment if parents are anxious to begin working immediately on “discipline” (or punishments) for misbehavior or are expecting an immediate solution for a long-standing or severe behavioral problem. In PCIT there is an initial emphasis on relationship-building and less directive methods of behavioral management in order to create a foundation of skills and interactions that are believed to maximize the chances for the potential benefits of treatment. Finally, parents may experience some discomfort in relation to the amount of effort and change required in their own behaviors, as well as in response to the highly directive interactions between therapist and parents during coaching session.
With these potential risks in mind, it is important to point out the potential benefits involved, as well. First, PCIT has been found to be a highly effective approach to treating children’s disruptive behaviors and noncompliance. In clinical studies, PCIT has resulted in improvements in children’s behavior at home, improved behavior in untreated siblings, reduction in parenting stress, and improvements in children’s self-esteem.
We’re looking forward to working with you and your child and to doing our best together to make a positive difference in your life.
The PCIT Clinic at the Moore Counseling Center, P.C. is administered by Drs. Lindsey Bardwell, Ph.D., and Ilse Carrizales, Ph.D.
Drs. Bardwell and Carrizales trained in 2014 in the latest PCIT theory and techniques at Children’s Hospital in the Child Study Center.
The MCC offers psychological assessment services for children as young as 18 months up to 18 years.
ADHD is an over-diagnosed, over-medicated phenomenon in our society at the moment. As psychologists, the MCC providers seek to first establish the legitimacy of an ADHD diagnosis via an array of psychological tests, including standardized, objective measures. The MCC ADHD examination is an extensive process that involves approximately four hours of testing, as well as gathering essential information from the child’s parent(s) as well as from the child’s teacher. The MCC psychologists are conservative in their diagnosis of ADHD, and parents can rest assured that their child will not be carelessly diagnosed or unnecessarily medicated after receiving one of our detailed evaluations.
The first step in working with a family of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is accurate diagnosis. The diagnostic evaluation can provide great information that can be used to help with treatment and school recommendations. A typical evaluation includes a diagnostic play session (using the gold-standard Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2nd Ed.), parent interview, intellectual testing, and adaptive behavior assessment. A detailed report, including recommendations, is written and discussed with each family.
Mental health diagnoses are not discreet, meaning that there is a high degree of overlap among mental health conditions. Often, a close examination of symptoms is necessary to tease apart and accurately identify and label a mental illness. For example, it is the opinion of the MCC psychologists that bipolar disorder should be thoroughly investigated and substantiated via psychological assessment before anti-psychotic, anti-seizure, and/or mood stabilizing drugs are introduced as a treatment. Often, what would appear to by symptoms of a bipolar depression are in fact better explained by substance abuse, a personality disorder, a mixed uni-polar depression, or a combination of conditions. It is the MCC philosophy that accurate diagnosis should always precede treatment.
Learning Disorder Assessment
While health insurances rarely cover this service, the early identification of a learning disorder can help prevent a child from developing negative attitudes about him/herself and about school. If a legitimate learning disorder is present, the MCC psychological report will provide the evidence necessary to substantiate the need for accommodations in the child’s school.
Group therapy is an underutilized means of psychological treatment. Therapeutic elements for change are present in group therapy processes that are not available in the context of individual therapy.
The value of effective social skills in today’s society cannot be underestimated. The MCC provides a range of social skills groups to cover different sets of ages, and different underlying issues (e.g., autism, ADHD). Please call to inquire about what social skills groups are upcoming, and to be placed on the wait-list.
DBT For Teens
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been demonstrated in the professional literature to be an effective treatment for adolescent issues such as self-harming behaviors and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). The MCC’s DBT group for teens is designed for teens who have a history of cutting or other forms of self-harm, as well as for teens experiencing depression, anxiety, and/or interpersonal difficulties. Group size is limited to 8 teens, and the group runs weekly for 12 weeks. Please call to request more information or to be placed on the group’s wait-list.
What help can a parent expect to receive from an Education Consultant?
An Education Consultant will:
- meet with the parents to review the psychologist’s report and discuss what implications his/her findings may have for their child in the school setting
- help parents identify the most pressing issues in the child’s education (academically or behaviorally) that interferes with the child reaching his/her potential
- include the parents in developing possible IEP goals that parents can present to the child’s Special Education teacher and other IEP team members, and request to be included in the annual IEP
- inform and advise the parents on different data collection possibilities to request in the IEP meeting
- discuss with parents their rights and roles in developing and tracking progress, in conjunction with the other members of the student’s IEP team, in their child’s educational program
Parent Comments: Nicole,
I just wanted to take a minute and let you know that on behalf of my father, Hannah’s step-mom and myself we’re so impressed with your involvement with this difficult situation. Your professional conduct during the rough spots was so impressive. We finally feel there is hope and there will be resolution. We know it will not be corrected overnight but we are headed in the right direction. Most importantly I feel having you guiding us in the best interest of Hannah we could not be in better hands. - Connie G.