The Child Guidance Clinic
The child guidance clinic is a community agency that studies, treats and consults with children with mental problems. Problems include impulsive behavior, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities and developmental disorders like thumb sucking, nail biting and bed-wetting.
Healy rejected the hereditarian and eugenic explanations for delinquency that were popular at the time and offered a complicated web of causative factors unique to each case.
During the Progressive Era child guidance clinics operated with an idealistic mission characteristic of the reform movement to prevent juvenile delinquency and later mental illness by identifying and treating the first signs. These signs, for example, bed-wetting and a child’s reluctance to go to school were understood as a symbolic expression of the unconscious. This clinical approach reinforced educators’ dependency on experts who could interpret a child’s behaviour and offer a course of treatment.
Healy, one of the British child guidance practitioners who attended the 1937 conference spasmodically, was able to articulate this philosophy with great clarity in his book “Maladjusted Children.” In rejecting hereditarian and eugenic explanations for child maladjustment and the Progressives’ emphasis on social and cultural causes, he offered a complicated web of ’causes’ – psychological, physical, environmental and psychical – that could explain each case. This approach helped to make child guidance a’scientific’ field of practice. Healy’s work also served as a model for the American child psychiatry that emerged in the interwar period.
Child guidance clinics provide individual, family, and group counseling, psychiatric services, case management, and evaluation. They also offer family support groups, parenting classes and training for child guidance clinicians. These clinical services are provided on a sliding fee scale, and both Medicaid and private insurances are accepted.
The original goal of child guidance, characteristic of Progressive reform, was prevention of juvenile delinquency and mental illness by identifying the first signs of problem behaviors in children. However, this ideal faded and clinics began to concentrate on treating so-called maladjusted children, school-aged children of normal intelligence exhibiting slight behavior or emotional problems.
The new DCF system is designed to treat children with serious emotional disturbance who are at risk of being placed out of their homes and includes local child-specific teams that develop and monitor service plans for each family, regional case review committees to provide clinical and administrative support, and a state-level interagency team that provides policy direction for the entire system. The lead service agencies will work with local community collaboratives, which will be composed of direct and support services providers, families, and community members.
The clinic specializes in treating ADHD, Autism, behavior and learning problems, Tourette’s Syndrome, aggression, temper tantrums and other emotional and behavioral issues. Its clinical teams include licensed therapists, psychiatrists and psychiatric social workers who combine medical, psychological and social viewpoints to treat children. The clinic can also help with other issues including anxiety, panic, depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation.
The current child guidance movement focuses on the treatment of children of normal intelligence, who display some form of maladjustment. This ranges from petty behavioral problems such as thumb sucking, nail biting, and bed wetting (enuresis) in young children to personality traits such as sensitivity, seclusiveness, apathy, and fanciful lying in older children.
CC’s are multipurpose behavioral health agencies that provide home-based mental health, emergency mobile psychiatric services and extended day treatment. They are funded through a variety of sources, with DCF payments covering one-half of their budgets. They also have community collaboratives composed of families and service providers that oversee regional service networks.
The child guidance clinic offers a range of parenting courses. These include six-week groups that explore a variety of topics such as healthy development, discipline and self-esteem. Parents are also given tips and ideas to deal with their child’s challenging behavior.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy is offered to families experiencing emotional challenges and learning problems. This treatment technique focuses on promoting attachment, trust in others and joyful engagements between children and their parents.
Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) offers free parent training sessions to improve parental competence and help prevent child maltreatment, behavioral and emotional problems. This training will give you new skills to handle even the toughest toddler meltdowns, bedtime battles and aggression.
Parental Child Custody and Visitation Treatment provides a safe environment for the monitored exchange of children from the custodial to the non-custodial parent. Our therapists are trained to provide counseling and support during these visits. They are also able to assist with establishing a visitation plan and provide a clinical report.