Frequently Asked Questions — Therapy

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS — THERAPY

Rush NeuroBehavioral Center (RNBC) is excited to offer psychotherapy services in addition to our existing neuropsychological testing and group programming! Our compassionate licensed clinical psychologists are trained in evidence-based psychotherapies that treat a wide range of emotional and behavioral health concerns. Our clinical team aims to not only understand your child as an individual, but to appreciate how he or she interacts with the social world and to provide your child with the skills needed to build his or her resilience.

What kinds of clinical concerns do RNBC therapists address?

Our clinic welcomes all individuals with respect for diversity broadly defined in terms of race, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, disability, gender identity, and other individual differences. We treat a variety of psychological concerns related to:

  • Stress and trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Self-esteem
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Emotional and behavioral concerns
  • Coping with physical and mental illness
  • Difficulties with school adjustment
  • Attention problems
  • School-related achievement concerns

 

What are the primary treatments available? 

Our psychologists specialize in the delivery of empirically supported treatments, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Parent Management Training (PMT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness‐Based approaches for stress management.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This intervention has the most research support for the treatment of many mental health challenges. It involves challenging and reframing maladaptive thoughts (cognitive) and learning new ways to engage with the world (behavior). The basic premise of this approach is that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interconnected; therefore, learning new ways to think about situations can help reduce psychological distress. Our therapists also often weave mindfulness-based approaches into traditional cognitive behavioral therapy to teach patients new ways of regulating their emotions in challenging situations.
  • Parent Management Training: This behavioral intervention focuses on teaching new parenting behaviors and teaches tools like positive reinforcement, identifying behaviors to ignore, limit setting, and developing contingency management (i.e., reward) systems in the home. For younger children, the therapist may also work with the parents to develop better time out strategies. Finally, our therapists also often include principles of mindfulness to help parents learn ways they can manage their own emotions when dealing with challenging child behavior so that they feel in better control of challenging situations.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: This intervention was originally developed to treat people with chronic or severe mental health problems, but DBT skills can be used across a wider range of presenting complaints. DBT teaches emotional coping and emotion regulation tools.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: This treatment combines acceptance and mindfulness tools with classic behavioral change principles. The goal of treatment is to teach patients to have greater flexibility in their thinking.

 

What can I expect during a therapy session?

In general, all first-time patients complete an intake evaluation, which is scheduled for about 90 minutes. During this appointment, the psychologist wants to get to know your child and the family and seeks to understand what the most important concerns are at that time. During this appointment, the psychologist may also share his or her general clinical impressions and begin to collaboratively develop a treatment plan with the patient and family.

Subsequent appointments range from 45 to 60 minutes and are uniquely tailored to each patient’s presenting concerns and needs. Because our treatment modalities are empirically-based, much of what we do in session is focused on building new skills, learning new and more helpful ways to think, practicing different coping strategies, and role playing different scenarios that might typically cause stress. Our therapists often assign weekly “homework” so that patients can practice using the skills learned in session in the “real world.”

How long can I expect treatment to last?

The answer to this question is largely dependent on your child’s needs and the treatment goals identified at the start of treatment. In general, traditional empirically supported treatment programs last about 8–12 weeks. We typically recommend meeting on a weekly basis at the beginning to build momentum, and then your psychologist might gradually increase the amount of time in between sessions as you and/or your child practice the skills learned in treatment. However, it is imperative to recognize that some children require longer-term care, and that others may only need a short-term treatment approach. The psychologist will work with you and your child to develop a treatment program that works best for the individual needs of your child.

Who will my clinician be? 

RNBC clinicians are doctoral level clinical psychologists. This means that they attended a graduate program in psychology, followed by an accredited doctoral internship. Most specialize further by completing postdoctoral training in research and/or clinical work. All of our psychologists are licensed to practice in the State of Illinois. Our clinical psychologists are embedded within a multidisciplinary team at RNBC, which includes neuropsychologists, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and a speech-language pathologist. Our team approach ensures that you and your family receive comprehensive care that addresses each element of your presenting concern.

Because Rush University Medical Center, with whom RNBC is affiliated, is a teaching hospital, we occasionally have doctoral students (“externs”) or postdoctoral fellows completing supervised training with us. These individuals are assigned cases that fit their training level and are closely supervised by the licensed clinical psychologists who oversee each case and help develop each patient’s treatment plan. Our dedication to teaching and mentorship helps guarantee that the next generation of clinical psychologists will be equally competent in providing empirically-based care to children and families.

How do I prepare my child for therapy? 

It is perfectly natural to experience some apprehension prior to initiating therapy. Our clinicians have extensive child‐based experiences and are sensitive to developmental needs. It might be helpful to explain to younger children that they are going to see a “feeling doctor” or a “worry doctor” who helps teach them different ways to feel better. For older children, it is important to be open and honest about your perspectives on why you feel they would benefit from talking to a psychologist. For older children and teens, also consider encouraging them to come to the session with questions to ask the clinical psychologist – the trusting relationship between the provider and patient is just as important as the specific skills learned in therapy!

Will the family and school be involved? 

Decisions about who to involve and to what extent are made collaboratively and on a case-by-case basis. Our clinical psychologists are trained in a systemic approach to clinical care, which means that they examine the relationship between a child and his or her family, school, peer groups, etc. Sometimes, it is necessary to work together as a family unit for the duration of treatment, whereas other times individual work between the therapist and child or adolescent is more appropriate. With your permission, our psychologists may consult with teachers, school counselors, or school other personnel as needed for appropriate management of care.

How can I get more information and schedule an appointment? 

If you are interested in reaching out to begin services please complete our patient survey and a member of our intervention team will contact you after reviewing the form to discuss therapy options. For questions, please email our intervention team directly at rnbc.clinic@rush.edu. 

Due to the high volume of need at this time, wait times for receiving a call back for scheduling are higher than normal. Additionally, neuropsychological assessments are now being scheduled 2–3 months out. Thank you for your patience as we work to manage the high volume of requests.