Child And Adolescent Specialty Program (CASP)—Group Therapy Program: FAQs

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Tell me about group therapy at the Institute?

Our groups help participants build awareness, knowledge and skills in the areas of mindfulness, self-care, emotional regulation, friendship skills, and more. Facilitators combine age-appropriate discussion, reflection and activities – like games, role play and crafts – to help group members reach their growth goals. We offer groups for youth ages six through young adulthood. All of our groups are facilitated by therapists who have specialized training in working with children, teens, and/or young adults. Some of our groups have a parent component.

How do you determine what group is right for my child or teen?

  1. Appropriate peer group match. We consider age, grade, emotional maturity, strengths, goals and challenges.
  2. Goals for therapy. Will these goals be met best by group therapy? Or is there some other therapy option that would be a better match for these particular goals? Perhaps combining group therapy with another treatment offers is the most appropriate recommendation.
  3. Team consultation. The group therapists in our Child and Adolescent Specialty Program (CASP) consult with time and care because we believe appropriate fit really helps your family member get the most out of the group experience.

How do I get started?

Complementary Phone Intake: You will first speak with our Intake Specialist during a complimentary Phone Intake. Our Intake Specialist will gather basic information. And, she will provide this page of helpful information (FAQ sheet). You may have already completed this step!

Intake Evaluation and Orientation: Based on the information gathered at the Phone Intake, our CASP group team reviews the information you have shared. We match you with an appropriate therapist to walk you through the rest of the intake process. That therapist will call you; ask some follow up questions; and discuss next steps. If it is determined that moving forward with an in-person Intake Evaluation is the next best step, the therapist will schedule a 60 minute Intake Evaluation with you and your child or teen. This session is a paid service necessary to gather pertinent information to determine the appropriate recommendations for your youth.

Most of the time, your therapist has a good idea which group is right for your child or teen even before the Intake Evaluation and together you will determine an appropriate start date for group by the end of the appointment. But in some cases, your therapist will need to consult the CASP group team before making that decision with you. If this happens, it usually will take 1-2 business days.

What is the Intake Evaluation like?

Sessions usually begin with you as a family. This is an opportunity to explore your interest in group and answer any initial questions you and your youth might have about starting group. During the Intake Evaluation, your therapist will ask some specific questions about your child’s or teen’s social experiences, home life, mood, recent stressors, goals, strengths, interests, and concerns. Depending on age, your intake therapist will ask to meet with your child or teen privately. You may request to meet with the therapist privately as well. Your visit will also include a brief tour of the group areas.

Does participating in the group Intake Evaluation guarantee that my child or teen will be added to a group?

In some situations we find that children and teens benefit from some pre-group coaching or individual therapy before starting group.  Sometimes we discover that your child or teen may be dealing with a particular challenge that is best treated through individual therapy. Your Intake Therapist will speak candidly with you regarding their best clinical recommendations for your child or teen.

How do I pay for the Intake Evaluation?

We accept credit cards, checks or cash.  If you have a PPO insurance plan and you’d like to submit a claim form to your insurance for possible out-of-network reimbursement, please complete the insurance information form and authorization in your intake paperwork. Once a month, we will provide you with a claim form that you can submit to insurance. (See below for more on insurance).

What about group fees in general?

There is a monthly fee due at the beginning of the month to cover the number of group sessions for the month.  This fee reserves your child or teen’s place in the group, even if on occasion they needs to miss.  You may pay by check, cash, or credit card.  You may have a credit card on file for monthly charges. Special Arrangements for Absences: For holiday months (June – August & December – January 15th) you may have your group fee prorated as long as you let your group facilitator know before the beginning of the month the dates your youth will be missing.

Can I use my insurance?

If you subscribe to a PPO insurance plan, you may request a claim form to submit to your insurance. We are not on any insurance panels. As a courtesy, we provide claim forms monthly as an out- of- network provider. Be sure to complete the insurance paperwork included in the initial paperwork and provide it to your Intake Therapist. Our billing department sends your statement and claim form at the beginning of the month for the previous month’s services. It is then your responsibility to send it to your insurance company for possible reimbursement at the out-of-network rate.

How do I explain group therapy to my child or teen?

Our group programs are strength based and are designed to focus on teamwork and growing together. Our founder and CEO, Dr. Melissa Johnson loves to share about group as a ‘hardiness zone’, a place where you can be yourself with other peers, support each other, and learn new things. You can also ask your Intake Therapist for help in order to prepare your child or teen for the Intake Evaluation.

What are your expectations about attendance?

Most groups meet between 60-75 minutes weekly. Your child or teen should attend consistently to get the most benefit out of group. Please notify us in advance if a group session will be missed.

How do I stay in touch with my daughter’s group facilitator?

You may always contact your child or teen’s group facilitator with questions, concerns, and updates via phone or email. Your daughter’s group facilitator will periodically contact you with general updates (email or phone). Parent consultations and parent coaching sessions are available as needed or requested.

Also we offer Seasonal Consultations for our group families 2x a year, usually in the Fall and Spring. During this time, group is canceled for a week and your facilitator/facilitators will be scheduling ½ hour meetings with participants and/or parents. The meeting can be with parents only, the whole family, or just your child or teen. You can ask your child or teen if they have a preference about who attends this consultation. For our younger children, we recommend a parent-only meeting. In this meeting we like to find out what is going well, what your youth is liking about group, and what other updates, questions, or concerns you’d like to address. This helps clarify progress, revise goals, and modify treatment plans. Please note this session is billed at a slightly higher rate because you are paying for a private clinical ½ hour instead of a group hour.