We are a Private Behavioral Health Care and Psychological Services Practice focusing on the issues that affect children, adolescents and their families and we are able to consult with the people and institutions with whom they interact. This includes school, colleges, Courts, governmental organizations and other health care and social service providers and agencies. An area of focus is children aged 5 and under. What differentiates us is that our approach to clinical, behavioral and therapeutic services takes a life-span developmental approach, is (w)holistic, family-oriented, and based on positive psychology. Because of our life-span developmental training and approach, we can also provide treatment services to adults and seniors, not just children.
We treat a wide variety of child and adolescents problems, including very young children with medical issues; adolescents with Eating Disorders and Cutting Disorders or other Self-Injurious Behaviors (SIB); and children and adolescents with special needs, including complex mental and emotional syndromes such as Prader-Willi, Autism/PDD, dual diagnosed MR/SPecial Ed students, and transitional adolescents/adults living in assisted facilities, rehab or other settings or who may have cognitive declines, competency or self-care issues while still living at home with their families.
Childhood is often not an easy time for children or parents. Even the strongest of families can experience stress, academic concerns or family problems which can combine to impact a child's teenager's or adult's ability to cope and many problems that children experience can be beyond a parent's ability to remedy without professional help.
Consciously raising kids while balancing the demands of life, work and family relationships is challenging, rigorous, sometimes hilarious, frequently joyful and often puzzling. Our goal is to help parents and others involved in the lives of children understand what influences and drives behavior and learn what may work to increase more positive behavior and reduce problematic behavior.
Some of these problems include attention and organizational problems, separation, divorce and custody issues, disruptive behavior disorders, academic and school problems, bladder and bowel incontinence, bullying, trauma and other conditions. When addressing child and adolescent issues, the family is often a necessary part of the treatment process. With older children, of course, the family's involvement becomes more limited. We do this most commonly by providing psychological assessments, clinical behavioral services and professional education to parents, school and medical personnel and other agencies interacting with children and families. We address all the common and even some not-so-common problem behaviors and psychological issues. Some of the tools we employ in addressing issues include:
This includes academic, psychological and neuropsychological testing and assessments (for more information regarding Psychological Assessments, please visit Vistahealth.cc.). Some examples of how psychological assessments can be of help include:
Academic and School Applications
ADHD, LD & NLD evaluations. Evaluations for 504 and Chapter 766/Special Education. Second opinions about parent-school conflicts or behavior issues. Developmental Disabilities, such as birth defects, Autism and PDD. Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs).
Health and Disability Issues
Evaluations under the Americans with Disability Act. Second opinions regarding psychological and psychiatric standard of care. Parental or Child Disability and Worker's Compensation evaluations. Consultative Evaluations (CEs) for Social Security Disability Insurance claims.
Family and Law Conflicts
Delinquency and reckless behavior. Guardianship & Competency of minors and seniors. Parenting evaluations and consultations. Divorce issues, including high conflict and post-divorce disputes. Custody/GAL and visitation issues. Abuse, neglect and physical maltreatment. Foster care and adoption.
Psychological Effects of Physical Violations or Injury
Direct Trauma Diagnosis and Remediation. The effects of indirect (vicarious or bystander) trauma and abuse on children. Psychological damage in children caused by medical procedures or toxicity.
REMEDIATION AND TREATMENT SERVICES
Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology & Therapy
There are many types of therapy, commonly called “counseling” or “psychotherapy.” But not all psychologically based therapy is equally effective when dealing with psychological issues – and anyone can be called a “therapist,” whether licensed or not. Be sure that any psychological theray is done by a licensed clinician – and there are many to chose from, including Psychologists, Social Workers, Licensed Mental Health Counselors to name but a few.
There are also many types of therapy, commonly called “counseling” or “psychotherapy.” But not all psychologically based therapy is equally effective when dealing with psychological issues. Among the types of therapy we specialize in is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). That is, the therapy focuses on what individuals think – that’s the ‘cognitive’, or intellectual part – and how individuals behave. Thinking influences behavior and vice-versa. CBT is suitable for a wide variety of issues and is easily adapted to developmental and environmental needs.
Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy is a type of CBT that focuses on the rapid change of self-defeating or otherwise troubling and unhelpful thinking that may cause individuals to remain feeling trapped and helpless in the face of life’s difficulties. REBT is quite effective in teaching individuals to become more objective in identifying, understanding, solving and also testing solutions to problems which then can lead to improved life functioning and an improved emotional life.
Monthly ADHD Clinics
We provide quick, focused, accurate and helpful assessments of attention, memory and cognition. These are especially useful in assessing ADHD and similar or copycat executive functions. Our ADHD Clinics are cost effective and held in various locations throughout our local service area on a monthly basis. ADHD Clinics are the first Wednesday of every month. Pre-registration is required and reservations must be made in advance. Please call our office for more information. Assessments times available are: from 8AM-10AM; 10AM-12PM; 1PM-3PM; 3PM-5PM.
Learning Disabilities (LD) Assessment and Remediation
Learning Disabilities are found in people of any age, occupation or skill level. Even geniuses can have a learning disability – or more than one. Typically, a learning disability goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for many years, first coming to light in high school, college or even several years into a career. It’s likely that the LD was always present in the individual, but rather was overlooked or ignored due to the individual’s ability to hide it, use other skills or abilities to compensate for it, or it was misunderstood as being something else.
Behavioral or emotional reactions to LD issues typically develop – especially in school-aged children - and it is often those behavioral or emotional reactions which may draw attention while the underlying LD is missed. This is especially true with Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD), which are quite often misunderstood and not even evaluated during the school years, but which very often can appear as social skills deficits, failure to adapt, and inflexibility which may also bring someone with NVLD into conflict with authority figures such as school personnel, job supervisors or the police.
Social Skills Groups -Available Only on Cape Cod.
We offer TWO types of group experiences - Focused and Free-Style. We offer group experiences for issues of Shyness, Bullying and Making Friends and also for Developmental Social Pragmatics
An "open" or Free-Style group simply means that new participants may join a group already in progress at any time and can start their group experience later than earlier joiners. A "closed" group simply means that once a group has started, no new participants may join the join already in progress because it is closed to new participants until it ends and a new group starts. Each type of group has advantages for participants and we offer both kinds. Our closed groups focus on shyness, bullying and making friends; our open groups focus more on self-confidence, self-efficacy and self-esteem building.
Focused - for Shyness, Bullying and Making Friends.
Social skills – including communication skills and socializing appropriately in a variety of situations – are among the most important skills needed in the modern world. Many otherwise highly skilled and competent children may be bothered by shyness, social phobia, lack of confidence or confusion when interacting with others in new or unfamiliar social settings. This may be even more true in children with verbally-based Learning Disabilities (LD), Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as they may have difficulty learning and adapting to the social cues and nuances that are important to making friends, holding jobs and getting along with others in modern life. Our social skills groups are matched by developmental or maturational age and skill level following a curriculum designed to develop awareness and practice in self-monitoring, perceptive-other turn-taking and group behavior. We focus on three areas – Shyness, Bullying, and Making Friends – and parents are expected to monitor the homework that each child may bring home to practice between group meetings. Groups are limited to 6 children and are held throughout the school year at our office.
Social Developmental Pragmatics Groups
These groups are excellent training for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, social anxiety disorders and even disruptive behavior disorders. Classes focus on:
> Using Language For Different Purposes > Extracting The Meaningfulness From Language > Changing Language To Suit Different Roles > Choosing Good Friends > Following Rules and Taking Turns > Understanding Social Roles and Nuances
Free-Style - for Self-Development and Personal Goal Setting.
In some individuals, social skills are quite under-developed - to the point that they don't even have a basic foundation or sociability from which to build, or develop, the usual social interactions that people need today to make and keep friends and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In such cases, self-development, defined here as empathy, self-care, self-esteem and self-efficacy, is often the first necessary step to create or strengthen the basic building blocks of social skills upon which later skills can then be added.
Our Free-Style Group is an open psychoeducational group. Participants range in age and ability level and the groups can be as small as two participants. Individuals who may not feel comfortable in our closed groups may feel very comfortable and "free" in these groups, where they can work on personal tasks on a limited socially-interactive environment without anxiety.
No, this does NOT involve real Hippos - although that WOULD be awesome if it did - but HIPPO Therapy does involve horses. Why isn't it just called Horse therapy? Well, I guess we'll never know*, but sometimes it's called Equine Therapy. Working with horses is often an incredible learning and calming experience for individuals with developmental limitations, medical problems behavioral problems and conditions such as Autism, Downe Syndrome, Mental Retardation, shyness, poor self concept and other issues. Our classes take place at Diamonds Edge Farm in West Barnstable under the supervision of a licensed psychologist and also with an Equine Therapist. The horses are experienced with a wide variety of riders and have also been conditioned for riding and appearing in parades, public appearances and Special Education riding competitions. Additional times may be scheduled at the Farm outside of class time.
>>> *Well, I guess now we do know. Since this was originally written, one of our teen-aged students recently informed us, with a kindly but patronizing smile, that "It's called Hippo Therapy because you're using large animals for therapy." OK: Got it!
Groups Will Meet On Alternating Saturdays: 10:00-10:45 AM and 11:00-11:45AM
Pre-registration is required and each group continues
year-round - except for inclement weather. Students may
register for one 6-week session or continue with consecutive 6-week
sessions throughout the school year. Each group meeting is $30 and there is a $15 registration fee
to cover sign up materials and intake questionnaires. All classes are
held at in one of three locations, depending on the group focus and
Social Developmental Pragmatics groups meet at our office in Marstons
Mills and are capped at 6 students; other
groups meet at Diamondsedge Farm in West Barnstable, MA integrating
HIPPO Therapy techniques where appropriate. Class fees include a workbook, homework assignment journal
and field work. Insurance does not cover these groups, as they are psychoeducational services, not psychotherapeutic services.
A brief (15-20 minutes)
registration meeting with the child and at least one parent is required
prior to joining a group. These groups are psychoeducational in nature
and do not replace group or individual therapy for the child. Not all
children may be suitable for these groups.
Performance Anxiety (Stage Fright) Coaching - For young performers, musicians and public speakers.
Children are singing, dancing, acting and playing music at increasingly younger ages. Students are routinely expected to speak up in class and failure to do so may result in a lowered grade for lack of class participation. High school and even middle school students are now called on to give oral presentations to their peers. College students – and certainly their parents – may be expected to make full multi-modal presentations, including Power Point, to enhance their college or business career. However, the same bold and self-confident child or adult at home may be quite reluctant - or even terrified - to perform in front of strangers. Stage Fright is quite common and shouldn’t be allowed to stop a child, adolescent or adult from pursuing their goals.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was discovered by Francine Shapiro, a psychologist in California who worked with trauma and trauma survivors. It is a so-called “power therapy” that has been especially helpful to individuals dealing with anxiety, panic and trauma issues. Our staff is proficient in the use of EMDR with children, adolescents and adults.
The work of childhood is play. Quite often. the best therapeutic approach with children, especially very young children, is play therapy. Play therapy differs from standard psychotherapy procedures in that therapeutic play is the central therapeutic approach, not "talking" therapy.
-----------------------------------⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒ A Few Words About Confidentiality:
In most cases, information concerning treatment and assessments can be considered confidential, requiring written permission of the patient/client/legal guardian before any clinical, health or linked Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can be revealed to third parties, including insurance companies, schools or other health professionals. Suspicions of sexual or physical abuse, suicidal or homicidal or other dangerous intent or behaviors; or the receipt of an appropriate and valid Court Order are traditionally not covered by laws and customs mandating confidentiality and the law requires reporting such events to the appropriate agencies irrespective of client/patient permission. Limits of confidentiality are discussed during the first visit.
-------------➢➢➢➢➢➢➢ Disclaimer of Clinical Advice and Therapeutic Relationship:
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All information sent to and from Vista Health Services, Inc. is not confidential or privileged and is not intended to be protected from third party observation unless otherwise specifically stated by Vista Health Services, Inc. and such confidentiality is necessarily limited by the inherent limitations of any communication devices used and any employed technology from origination point to point of receipt.
Any unintended recipient of any communication from this web site or Vista Health Services, Inc. is hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of any such transmission, including e-mail and any attachments thereto, is strictly prohibited. If recipients receive any any communication from this site, including e-mail from Vista Health Services, Inc., its employees or subcontractors or counselors in error, please immediately notify us by return e-mail and permanently delete the original and any copy of the e-mail message and any printout thereof.
❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖ * The actual quote, credited to Frederick Douglass, is: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
Copyright 2009-2012 by Vista Health Services, Inc.