Is In Step Right For My Family?
If you’re like many of our clients, you are researching various options to address your family’s concerns. You are wondering, “Is In Step right for my family?” Perhaps you have been given a list of practices to call by a referral source such as your child’s pediatrician, psychiatrist, or school counselor.
As the mother of three, I know how it feels to be concerned about my child’s well-being and focused on choosing the best course of action. I believe In Step has a number of unique attributes that enable our families to develop better relationships and skills, resulting in happier, more peaceful homes.
I hope my answers below will address your concerns and make you feel like you have come to the right place.
In Step is primarily a practice offering therapy groups for school age children, teens and young adults. Early in my career, I recognized the power of treating relationship problems through group work, which led me to create Stepping Stones, a highly effective social skills group therapy program for children and their parents.
Today, we offer social skills groups for all age groups: elementary school age children, teens and young adults. Our primary focus remains social skills and related issues including anxiety, anger, dealing with teasing, isolation, etc.
As parents, we are very tuned in to our child’s social and emotional development. There is almost nothing more difficult than watching your child experience discomfort or anxiety. So many children with social skills deficits feel alone, frustrated and angry. They want friends. They are not aware, for the most part, what it is they are doing to cause their peers to shy away. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if your child is struggling:
- “Has a doctor or school recommended a social skills group because your child has trouble making and keeping friends?
- “Does your child seem lonely? As a parent, do you wish you could do more to help?”
- “Are you concerned because nothing you have tried has brought about real change?”
We work not only with children, but also with their parents. For our elementary-age clients, In Step’s programs are more comprehensive and require more parent involvement than any other social skills program offered in the area. Many of our programs require the parents to attend a parents’ group session at the same time as their children. Those programs that don’t have a concurrent parent group will still provide weekly feedback to parents at the end of each session. Some groups will meet for three weeks with the children and the fourth week with their parents. Whichever format the groups follow, parents are an essential component to ensuring the success of our programs.
In Step is the only practice that offers parent coaching groups which run in tandem with children’s groups. We know that children cannot learn social skills without the commitment of their parents. Skills must be practiced at home with their parents for them to stick.
Think of your involvement in your child’s therapy as you would a trip to the doctor for bronchitis for your ten-year-old son. You notice your child has symptoms of illness. You tell your doctor what you think is wrong with your son. The doctor then makes a diagnosis, prescribes steps to take for your son to feel better, and tells you what signs you should look for that signify improvement. As a parent, wouldn’t you feel responsible for making sure your child implements the doctor’s advice to get better? It’s the same for therapy. Your child needs your support beyond getting him to his group session on time. He needs you to help him follow through on what he’s learning in group and practice with him these new techniques in his everyday life, including in school, sports, and at home. The good news is that at In Step, you don’t have to do it alone! You’ll have support from other parents and the guidance of an experienced clinician to learn how to best help your child on his or her way to being a happier child.
While many of our clients are involved in group therapy, there is a whole other part of the practice which focuses on work with individuals, couples, and families. We understand that many of the issues our clients struggle with, including depression, anxiety, and anger, need to be addressed one on one with a compassionate, experienced therapist. We provide those services separately or in tandem with the group work we offer.
Every clinician at In Step has a passion for positively impacting the lives of others. They go above and beyond what is expected to ensure that every child they work with experiences success. They collaborate with other therapists in the practice to determine the best clinical placements for your family. It’s why you can’t just “sign up” for a group with us. They evaluate each group member and place them appropriately and thoughtfully for maximum clinical efficacy. They stay in regular contact with other clinicians and educators in your child’s life to complete the circle of care. I encourage you to learn more about our clinicians here.
One of the first questions people ask me after we talk about treatment options is, “Do you take insurance?” The short answer is that In Step is an out-of-network provider. We decided many years ago not to join managed care panels because the programs we offer don’t fit easily into managed care treatment plans. Our programs go beyond treating just symptoms and kids in crisis mode. Adequately addressing the needs of our families takes time, and our families are committed to real growth and change.
That said, we are happy to help our clients access their insurance benefits. We also do our best to work with families when they reach out to us with certain financial restrictions, but we recognize that our program is just not possible for everyone. In those cases, we make referrals and act as a resource for other programs available in the community.
When you send us an email or call us to say that your family is struggling, you’ll hear back from us within 24 hours to discuss the the issues you’re facing, and then set up an in-person evaluation. In some cases, we may suggest that you seek help with another practice or organization if In Step is unable to provide the type of services you need. For instance, In Step does not offer court-ordered anger management classes, or see clients with severe eating disorders or substance addictions. We’re also unable to treat certain children with autism, as our groups rely heavily on verbal communication. The children we treat need to be “group ready” and we may suggest another service may be necessary in preparation to join a group.
Once an in-person evaluation is done, the clinician will then recommend a treatment plan at In Step that may involve joining a social skills or therapy group, or perhaps seeing a practitioner privately for individual therapy.
I appreciate you taking the time to read about In Step. I hope that you if have questions, you will call either of our offices or email me directly here. You can also visit my web site to learn more about me and my approach to helping families build stronger relationships.
Cathi Cohen, In Step Director