IFGD Group Therapy Program: FAQs
Child and Adolescent Specialty Practice (CASP)
Tell me about group therapy at the Institute?
Our groups help participants build skills in the areas of mindfulness, self-care and emotional regulation, friendship skills, and more. Facilitators combine age-appropriate discussion, reflection, and activities – like games, role play, and crafts – to help support 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.
How do you determine what group is right for my child or teen?
When we consider a group for you or your family member, we think about a number of things:
- Appropriate peer group match – therefore we consider age, grade, emotional maturity, strengths, and
- 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.
- Team consultation. The group therapists in our Child and Adolescent Specialty Program (CASP) consult about appropriate fit for a new family considering group here at the Institute. We take 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). Many of you have already completed this step!
Intake Evaluation and Orientation: Based on the information gathered at the phone intake, our CASP group team reviews this data and matches 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. The 60-minute Intake Evaluation session fee is $240.
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 a group. During the Evaluation, your therapist will ask some specific questions about your child or teens social environments, home environment, mood, recent stressors, goals, strengths, interests, and concerns that help us make an appropriate group recommendation. 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 students benefit from some pre-group coaching or individual therapy before starting a 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 need to miss. You may pay by check, cash, or credit card. If you wish, 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 from us to submit to your insurance. We are not on any insurance panels. We provide claim forms monthly as an out- of- network provider. Your intake therapist will make sure you have the appropriate paperwork to enroll in this process. 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. We expect your child or teen to attend consistently to get the most benefit out of group. Please notify your leader in advance if you have a reason you cannot attend group.
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, updates via phone or email. Your daughter’s group facilitator will contact you with general updates usually by email and may call you if they have questions.
We also perform Seasonal Consultations with our group family’s 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 individual meetings with all group participants. 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 just a parent meeting. In this meeting, we like to find out what is going well, what your youth liking about group, and what other updates, questions, or concerns you’d like to address. This helps us track progress and modify our treatment plan accordingly. Please note this session is billed at a slightly higher rate because you are paying for an private clinical ½ hour instead of a group hour.
What happens when my child/teen is ready to graduate from group – or we need to stop for some reason?
Creating the experience of a “good good-bye” is an important part of therapy – and life. Be sure to stay in conversation with your child’s therapist about progress, plans for graduation from group and/or obstacles to group attendance. As your child/teen reaches their goals in group, it may be valuable for them to continue in group for support with their newly gained skills. Or, new goals may develop that are appropriate for group or individual therapy. Some children/teens may benefit from a break from group to test their skills. At the Institute we recommend that you discuss all this during the Seasonal Consults. In between times, keep the therapists aware of any other obstacles to group attendance. When children and teens are ready to complete their group work, we recommend setting a date at least a month out. This gives the group participants (including your child) the opportunity to have a good good-bye. This includes in part reflecting on and receiving feedback on qualities, growth, and accomplishments; plans for building and maintaining support outside of group; and a celebration to honor your child/teen. Each group has its own good-bye ritual that the group has developed.