Matilda Theiss Early Childhood Outpatient Program
The goals of the Matilda Theiss Early Childhood Outpatient Program are to provide:
- comprehensive and developmentally appropriate diagnostic evaluations
- appropriate and thoughtful treatment recommendations for young children
- effective treatment by clinicians experienced in early childhood mental health
The Matilda Theiss Child Development Center is a specialized service that provides comprehensive assessment and treatment to young children ages eight and under. In addition, the Theiss Outpatient Program provides specialized services to young children with trauma histories and their families. The program operates in conjunction with the WPIC Early Childhood Mental Health & Trauma Treatment Center, a Category III Community Treatment and Services Center that is part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network funded by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Prior to admission to the Theiss Center for treatment, a licensed psychologist or master’s level clinician will complete a comprehensive evaluation with the child and their parent/guardian. All diagnostic evaluations at Matilda Theiss evaluate the child in the context of the parent-child interaction. All evaluations completed through the Theiss Center consider the impact of trauma and chronic stress on children and families.
Once an evaluation is completed, the clinician team will help identify treatments and interventions to best meet the needs of the child and family. According to research results, the following outcomes can be expected after completion of Child-Parent Psychotherapy and/or Parent-Child Interaction Therapy:
- Fewer, less intense child behavior concerns and increased positive behaviors
- A reduction in symptoms of traumatic stress
- An improved relationship between children, families, and caregivers
- Less parental stress and frustration
Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is an empirically-supported treatment model to support young children from infancy through seven years old. CPP is a relationship-based treatment model. In other words, during CPP, the clinician engages in play and treatment with the child and parent. Evidence suggests that CPP is a culturally-sensitive treatment modality which positively impacts children’s behavioral and mental health outcomes while promoting protective factors and strengths, such as stable, warm relationships with parents.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is designed for children ages 2 through 7 years of age displaying challenging and disruptive behaviors. PCIT is designed to address the individual needs of families. PCIT is a treatment model which works with children and caregivers. PCIT is a program which requires parents to participate for one hour each week for 12-20 weeks. In addition, parents only need to dedicate 5 minutes per day at home to practice.
Child-Focused Individual Play Therapy
If deemed appropriate, play therapy will be provided by either a psychologist or under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. In non-directive or child-centered play therapy, the child leads the play in the session. Within sessions the child chooses how to spend their time. The play therapist offers unconditional positive regard, support, and empathy within a safe and consistent relationship with the therapist.