A Multimodal Approach for Treating Children with Pediatric Mental Health Issues – The Behavioral Aspect

At Balance – Stress Management and Therapy, we are developing a multimodal treatment package specifically for children that are diagnosed with a wide range of issues, including ADHD, depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder, and learning disabilities. The main purpose and goal of this treatment package is to treat our young clients from a holistic perspective, ultimately allowing these children and their parents to manage these symptoms without medication. The multi-approach package includes occupational therapy, neurofeedback, behavioral therapy, art therapy, and music therapy sessions.

As the behavioral therapist that is a part of this multimodal team for treating children with clinical issues, it is my goal and priority to work with both the child and his/her parental or guardian system. By understanding the child’s system, I can then efficiently assess the presented issues, the needs of the child and family, their goals, and types of treatments and interventions necessary to promote healthy and holistic change.

My priority and goal as the therapist is to build a trusting therapeutic relationship with each client and his/her parents/guardians. Once I establish a solid relationship with my client, I am then able to assess their situation and understand what kind of work lies ahead.

As I work with each and every single child, I assess for any pediatric issues that are affecting them, and tackle them by applying appropriate therapeutic interventions. Throughout the treatment process, I will work with the child individually, the family system, and the parents or guardians individually.

When I work with the children and/or the family system (with the child present), my treatment modalities are eclectic. I apply experiential therapy to connect to the emotions and process that are present in the therapy room, structural therapy to re-organize the family system, and cognitive behavioral therapy to challenge thoughts. To help parents navigate the wide range of issues that are related to pediatric needs, I work on structuring their parental units so that roles are made clear in the family system. I also work on various parenting issues with them while their child is not present in the room – this ensures that the child can remain in the child role, without being anxious or self-conscious about the conversation. Other issues that I address with the parents include goal-setting, positive reinforcement, redirection, rules, boundaries, and consequences.

My services in this program are just a contribution – the real change happens through the collaboration with my team.

Sandra Schoeneich, AMFT

Balance Stress Management & Therapy