Why bring my child to seek help from a psychologist?

Like adults, children also struggle with mental health issues. As many as one in five children and adolescents may have an identifiable mental disorder that requires treatment, and at least 1 in 10 has a serious emotional disturbance. With this in mind, children who suffer from any of these disorders can highly benefit from seeking support and counsel from an experienced professional, as issues not properly addressed in childhood will only exacerbate with time and persist into adulthood.

Psychologists will provide your child (and quite often parents and the entire family) specific coping and long term management strategies, and the type of guidance needed to lead healthier, happier and more productive lives.

How can I choose the right psychologist?

We do everything we can to protect our children, so it’s absolutely normal to feel some nervousness when choosing the right psychologist. Partaking in therapy is intimate, and there is a high level of comfort that parents must feel when entrusting their child into the hands of a professional.

With so many psychologists to choose from, it’s important to:

  • Ask questions: Do your homework and get a clear understanding of the person’s background, experience and process
  • Prepare for your consultation: When having your initial discussion, consider your child’s history and come equipped with concerns, questions, school reports, etc.
  • Seek referrals: A trusted friend or family member who has experience can provide an ideal and reliable perspective about the process and personality of a doctor
  • Go with your gut: You know your child best, so listen to your intuition when thinking about the type of doctor he/she will easily connect with

Your comfort level and that of your child is paramount, so it’s important that you trust the doctor you’re working with implicitly.

Why Dr. Specht?

Just like your child is unique, the same can be said for Dr. Specht. He strikes a balance between high level experience and training from world-renowned medical institutions such as Johns Hopkins and NewYork-Presbyterian with an approach that is caring and gentle.

Dr. Specht has a reputation for innovation and leadership, as he has overseen many studies in the field of child psychology. Less experienced clinicians – and those who are not specialists – will tend to get caught up in treating the most salient symptoms and miss the most impairing conditions, balk if/when they are not effective and can get caught up in serial assessments of repeatedly re-evaluating the patient or switching to other treatments prematurely. This process can be extremely ineffective, expensive, and frustrating for both parent and child.

Alternatively, Dr. Specht prides himself on a collaborative and holistic approach when treating his patients, always seeking the most appropriate solutions to deliver positive results. He also firmly believes in actively involving parents as part of the treatment process.

With his rich training, expertise, track record of success and leadership in his field, Dr. Specht’s approach is incomparable, however ask any former or current patients and they can attest that his warmth, compassion and sense of humor equal his experience. Dr. Specht cares for and is deeply involved with all of his patients, and you can rest assured that he is fully invested in helping those he works with achieve long term success and stability.

What can my child and I expect at our first meeting and throughout treatment?

Each child and situation is different, so the process may vary, but typically, the initial evaluation is 90 minutes, which includes both the parent(s) and child. The first half of the meeting is focused on information gathering and the second half is discussing diagnoses and validated treatment options, recommendations and planning (i.e. a treatment road map).

From there, all other appointments are typically 45 minutes, and are generally child only, parent(s) only or parent(s) + child. In an effort to accelerate treatment gains, Dr. Specht often starts with two patient and two parent(s) appointments/week as clinically indicated, as he believes one per week with the child only or splitting it into half patient/half parent dilutes treatment and is not appropriate. Weekly appointments help, but more frequent appointments help more rapidly. Adding parent guidance also accelerates treatment gains and leads to more positive long-term outcomes.

Dr. Specht ensures a tremendous amount of communication in-session, between, and with school, always working to triangulate and address issues at multiple levels simultaneously. Tackling issues and situations collaboratively at home, school and with extended family and other networks further strengthens the effectiveness of treatment.

How long will my child be in treatment?

The duration of treatment length varies and depends on the severity of your child’s diagnosis. Dr. Specht has treated patients for as little as three months, some more frequently initially and then less frequently over time, but he has also seen many patients intermittently for 10+ years, which is a testament to his commitment to the ultimate goal of helping build independent, fully-functioning, happy, healthy and productive adults.

Dr. Specht will be very transparent throughout the process and you will be involved with treatment planning throughout your child’s care.

Will all meetings be kept confidential?

Absolutely. By law and under the Ethics Code, Dr. Specht and his team value your/your child’s privacy and will ensure that everything discussed at your meetings and via any communication (electronic or written) will be handled with the utmost discretion.

Where are you located?

The C-OATS office is located at 25 Valley Drive in Greenwich, CT off West Putnam Ave. near the Post Office. Ample above and below ground parking is available for your convenience.

What if I need to cancel or reschedule my child’s appointment?

Dr. Specht understands that life and schedule changes happen. If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, please give our office 48 hours notice. If you cancel an appointment with less than 48 hours notice, or fail to show up, you will be charged a cancellation fee.

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