Sometimes the need for psychotherapy is clear, such as when an adolescent engages in self-destructive behavior or when life becomes unbearable. More often, people seek individual therapy for reasons that are difficult to pinpoint. Dissatisfaction, trouble relating to other people, or loneliness are examples. At Cornerstone, many of the people we treat are bright, successful and high-functioning, but are stressed, isolated, or overly demanding of themselves. Psychotherapy provides a safe, confidential atmosphere where one can receive support and gain the knowledge and insight necessary to make changes toward a more fulfilling life.
Marital and Couples Counseling
Sometimes problems in a relationship can seem insurmountable, even when both members are motivated to make things better. Counseling enables couples to identify patterns of interaction with one another that they are simply unable to observe in themselves. This can help the couple modify their behavior and turn the relationship around. When the decision is made to separate, counseling can be useful in helping couples negotiate the separation in the best way possible, continuing to provide effective co-parenting if children are involved, and facilitating the process of healing.
Group psychotherapy is an excellent and cost-effective way to receive support and get valuable feedback from others facing similar problems. Groups usually consist of a psychologist and 6-8 members who are carefully screened to work well together. Cornerstone offers several types of groups including adolescent groups, caretaker support groups, and parent support groups. We also provide social skills groups for children and adolescents.
Psychological assessment is the most comprehensive means of obtaining an accurate diagnosis when behaviors or symptoms are not clearly understood. Questions to be answered with psychological testing might include, “Why is my son having trouble concentrating and why have his grades dropped? Could he be depressed or have ADHD?”, “My child is very verbal but does poorly in math and has trouble taking tests. Does she have a learning disability?”
Testing with minors involves interviewing parents, teachers and the child or adolescent. Often, standardized rating scales are given to parents and teachers to fill out. Then, a variety of testing instruments are used with the child, depending upon the referral question. Once the testing is completed, the psychologist interprets the results and writes a detailed report with specific recommendations. A feedback session is scheduled with the parents and sometimes the child to review the results in detail and to answer all questions thoroughly. The report is used to advocate for the child or adolescent, and the psychologist who conducted the assessment may attend IEP meetings and share results with school counselors and teachers at the parents’ request.
Testing can be time-consuming and expensive and is not always necessary when the diagnosis is clear. But when warranted, testing can be essential in determining the appropriate treatment, and in advocating for specific school-based services.
Children do not come with instructions and some children present unique and difficult challenges for the beleaguered parents or caregivers. Cornerstone runs parent groups which provide education and support. We also work individually with parents to provide specific training to cope with children who are gifted, learning disabled, behaviorally disruptive, hyperactive, or all of the above.