We have a common goal -- helping children! I often find that we provide overlapping but complimentary services and when we learn from each other, we do our best work for our clients. This is why community partnership is essential to me. Having a child's parents, teachers, medical professionals, and mental health professionals working together often yields the best outcomes for children. As such, I would love to get to know you, and for you to get to know me a bit better to provide continuity of care for the clients we have in common.
I'll start -- here's a little information about me beyond what is provided here and information that is specifically geared towards questions that collaborative professionals frequently asked me:
What age groups do you work with? Toddlers through Young Adults.
My training at the University at Buffalo was split between working with young adults at the college-level, and working directly with children. Thus, I am not an adult-trained therapist choosing to work with children. I find that this is a key benefit to my psychological services given that there seems to be a misconception among some adult-focused therapists that anyone can work with children and offer such services.
The hours I acquired in working directly with children during my graduate training includes over 2000 hours! These 2000 hours is in addition to the hours I have spent implementing evidence-based treatments to adults for child clients. In layman's terms...I've devoted a lot of my time to focus on techniques particularly effective in working with children and on implementing youth-based interventions. Many of these direct-child treatment hours have been a result of working directly under Dr. William Pelham's supervision of his world-renowned treatment: The Summer Treatment Program.
What type of degree do you have? I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, meaning I have doctoral level training (as compared to masters-level training). I am a Psychologist licensed in the state of Pennsylvania. I also have specific training in working with children; I worked in multiple settings focused on.
Do you offer empirically-supported treatments and assessments? Yes! I feel using empirically-based psychological services is in the best interest of the clients. My Ph.D. provided balanced attention in conducting research and developing clinical skills, which further means I look to scientific research to determine the treatment techniques most effective in addressing my clients' needs based on other people like them. This also means I use evidence, based on assessments completed with clients, to determine if they are making progress towards their goals in therapy, and use this information to modify my therapeutic approach when necessary.
I took this training a step further and developed a unique training plan for myself, funded by a federal dissertation grant, that allowed me to become a translational researcher. This means I understand the nuances on the interplay between research and practice. This further means that I have the skills to translate research findings into effective clinical interventions and translate clinical intervention techniques into research studies to determine their efficacy and effectiveness. I have experience in obtaining grant funding for developing intervention protocols, implementing the protocol, and assessing the efficacy of those protocols for children with behavior difficulties.
What therapy orientation do you engage in? Because of their empirical basis, my professional training has always been steeped in behavior therapy (BT) and cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT). What I mean by staring that my training was steeped in these techniques is that these techniques were integral to all of the interventions and assessments I provide. I think this is an important piece of information since practitioners can claim, for example that they are "CBT certified" after taking a few day or few hour course on CBT techniques. I feel this type of training pales in comparison to having CBT integrated into all aspects of one's training.
In addition to BT and CBT, I incorporate aspects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Mindfulness, and Motivational Interviewing.
Do you offer Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)? I am well-equipped to implement PCIT techniques in my therapy, as I have taken the PCIT training workshops (child-directed and parent-directed) and these techniques are similar across parent training models (e.g., COPE, Incredible Years) which I have extensive experience in implementing . To become certified in PCIT, one needs to see two clients, supervised by a certified PCIT trainer, for all PCIT sessions in addition to taking the workshops. I have not completed this latter part of the PCIT training, so I cannot state that I am PCIT certified.
What experience do I have working in community settings, like schools or medical settings? I have really enjoyed working in multiple settings, including schools and hospitals.
In schools, I have observed children in the classroom setting. I have also worked as a behavioral specialist to implement behavioral interventions to children within the classroom, similar to what a one-on-one aide would do. I've also spent time developing recommendations for children in the classroom that have been incorporated into 504 Plans and Individualized Education Plans as part of my training in ADHD evaluations. I have also served as a teacher consultant and a parent advocate for Special Education meetings.
My experience in medical settings includes working as a therapist in an inpatient unit geared toward adolescents there for substance use who often had comorbid psychopathology. Here I implemented treatment focused on social skills and communication skills (e.g., assertiveness). I also completed my residency at a hospital -- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center -- where I was the sole student chosen to complete their training in their competitive Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology track. This position specifically split time between the Center for ADHD and more medically-based rotations, including working in a sleep clinic, a seizure clinic, a trauma and neglect clinic, and an Autism school/hospital hybrid setting. I also worked at Penn State Hershey Medical Center conducting research and providing clinical services geared towards youth with ADHD and youth with anxiety.
I already conduct ADHD evaluations. Why would I refer a client to you for one? Pediatricians and schools are huge resources for families. Research shows that pediatricians are very often the first professional parents go to with concerns about ADHD. If pediatricians feel comfortable evaluating and diagnosing ADHD, that's great! This may be a time- and cost-efficient way for families to get empirically-based interventions, especially if the family is requesting medication for their child's treatment.
Some schools provide evaluations for free, particularly if a student is doing poorly academically. I often refer families back to their school to determine if their child meets the criteria for a free evaluation, as this can be a very cost-efficient alternative for families. This is particularly true if the child is experiencing difficulty in the classroom and not at home.
This is where my expertise comes into play: If a family wants a second opinion on a previous assessment, if another professional does not feel comfortable giving a diagnosis (based on child's age, training, or time constraints), or if the child's mental and/or physical health presentation is complicated with various potential mental health concerns impacting the child's behavior, I can provide a more thorough assessment about a child's primary and secondary diagnoses. I can also provide recommendations for the child both at home and at school.
How many therapists does the Center for Active Minds have? Since I am just starting out my practice in Lititz, PA, I am the only therapist at my practice at this time.
Do you have an in-house psychiatrist? Not at this time, but check back in with me about this! My hope is to grow my company, Center for Active Minds, into a wellness center so to speak where families can receive multiple services centered on health and well being (e.g., psychiatric, nutrition, meditation). At this time, I often check in with my professional community (you all!) and the Pennsylvania Psychological Association for recommendations for additional outside resources my clients need.
Do you accept Medicaid / Medicare insurance? Unfortunately, I am not in-network with any insurance at this time. In my experience, I have felt that participating with insurances frequently interfered with my ability to provide well-rounded and evidence-based interventions. This became a moral dilemma as I did not feel that providing subpar interventions was in the best interest of my clients. The insurance-based model also seems to be solely focused on money, which can lead therapists to fall behind on paperwork and picking up the phone to collaborate with outside professionals, like yourselves.
The downside is that because I am not a participating provider with Medicaid / Medicare, clients with these insurances as their primary or secondary insurance are unable to pay out-of-pocket for mental health services. Thus, I would not be able to do therapy or evaluations with this population.
Although being out of network with insurance providers can provide a barrier for some clients, I often find that clients would pay the same amount for services with me with or without their insurance given the high deductibles often associated with commercial insurance plans. I also provide interested clients in information about using their out-of-network benefits to try to get reimbursed for out-of-pocket mental health services. I provide clients with a worksheet that outlines what out-of-network benefits are, what it means for their therapy services, what information I provide on a Superbill, and how to contact their insurance to determine what their out-of-network benefits are (if any).
Do you treat other disorders, like Autism or Trauma? I offer specialized services related to ADHD / behavior problems and anxiety, as I chose to specialize my training in these areas of focus. I chose to niche down because I prefer being extremely effective at a few things rather than being OK at multiple things. This means that I have expertise in multiple areas related to ADHD and anxiety, including interventions aimed at improving organization, concentration, impulsivity, academics, friendships, social skills, parent-child relationships, assertiveness, communication skills, anxiety, relaxation, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, school refusal, etc. I do not provide primary interventions aimed at Autism or Depression at this time. However, I have treated many clients who have Autism, learning disabilities, trauma (etc.) as secondary issues.
I understand this can get confusing and that mental health concerns do not always fit so nicely into diagnostic categories, so please feel free to call me at 717-879-9797 or shoot me an email at DrSarah@CenterForActiveMinds.com if you'd like to check before referring a case to me. Also, I provide a 30-minute consultation service for $50 that allows potential clients to get to know me in-person, and provide me some background about their presenting problem so we can determine together if I am the best therapist for them.
How can I provide my students or clients with more information about your services? Great! Feel free to give them my website (CenterForActiveMinds.com), phone number (717-879-9797), or email address (DrSarah@CenterForActiveMinds.com). Or, you can go here to download and print a copy of my brochure in it's current form. Or, you can send me an email or call me at the information provided above to request brochures or business cards - I will gladly deliver some to you! Also, feel free to add me to your "Local Psychologists" or "Outside Referrals" list.
Do you provide workshops or talks for Professional Development to staff members? I sure do! I definitely feel we can learn a lot from each other. I am all about sharing resources. Please check out my blog here for information on topics geared towards parents, educators, and medical professionals. Additionally, I am more than happy to develop and share handouts about ADHD, anxiety, behavior problems and the like that talk about how they are diagnosed, prevalence rates, frequently asked questions, and/or brief and simple intervention techniques that parents or professionals can implement.
Below are some informational handouts that I have developed for Pediatricians. If you would like something similar to this on a different topic, or a different question or statistic incorporated into the existing documents for you to hand out to parents, please contact me at DrSarah@CenterForActiveMinds and let me know what type of handout you are looking for.
Behavior in Young Children
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