WHAT WE OFFER

  • Individual Therapy
    Through therapy, the clinician’s goal is to help people of all ages live healthier, fulfilling and more productive lives.  Depending on the client and the situation, the form of treatment modalities may be one of the following:  cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness and meditation, dialectical behavioral, humanistic, family systems, interpersonal and psychodynamic or others.  Some clients benefit from art, play or music therapy techniques.  Psychotherapy treatment and goals are based on the collaboration between the client and therapist and family if applicable.  Therapy can provide an objective environment for clients to discuss their concerns and challenges in a non-judgmental setting to help identify goals and a path to achieve those, or to understand themselves, their problems and work on developing solutions.
  • Family Therapy
    Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help family members improve their communication or work on resolving conflicts.  It could be aimed at some members of the family or include all members of the family.  A client’s specific treatment goals are dependent on the collaboration between the family and the therapist.  It can be used to teach skills to improve family connections or to get through a stressful time in life.  It can also be used to help members of the family cope with a loss, traumatic event or manage the impact of a mental illness on the entire family.  Many of the goals of family sessions revolve around helping members understand one another and learn coping skills to bring the family closer together.
  • Couples or Marriage Counseling
    Couples therapy is used as a means of resolving problems and conflicts that couple have not been able to handle effectively on their own.  Sometimes it can be helpful for each individual to have their own individual sessions prior to the couples sessions, other times, the couple comes in together.  It is aimed at building understanding between them and allow for a neutral party (the therapist) to assist with discussion of thoughts and feelings.  The therapist can assist with identifying and clarifying problem areas in which the couple seems to be stuck.  Some common areas include: communication, financial concerns, unmet emotional needs, frequent arguments or conflicts about parental roles or obligations.
  • Assessment Testing
    Pediatric neuropsychology is a professional specialty concerned with learning and behavior in relationship to a child’s brain. A pediatric neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with expertise in how learning and behavior are associated with the development of brain structures and systems. Formal testing of abilities such as memory and language skills assesses brain functioning. The pediatric neuropsychologist conducts the evaluation, interprets the test results, and makes recommendations.
  • Mental Health Consultation
    Kuhn Counseling Center serves as the Mental Health Consultant to the Two Rivers Head Start program in 10 sites throughout the Fox Valley and five counties. Jenni Watgen provides training throughout the year to Head Start staff on mental health issues such as: ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), Building Resilience, De-Escalation, Mindfulness, etc.

    We work collaboratively with Head Start coordinators, supervisors, staff and teachers when there are behavioral or mental health concerns with a child in a classroom. Such concerns could be inattention, distractibility, disengagement, aggressive behaviors, destructive behaviors, traumatic events that may be affecting a child’s functioning in the classroom, anxiety, depression, inability to control emotions, school adjustment and more.  When something like this occurs, a meeting is set up with teachers and staff involved in the classroom to discuss the concerns, triggers to behaviors, interventions and potential strategies.  Then, a mental health/behavioral observation is completed along with an assessment within the classroom that evaluates the child on several areas of functioning.  Once the observation is complete and all past history reviewed, a report is compiled to provide concise information on the reported concerns, family dynamics, a detailed description of the observation, outcomes of the assessment and a list of potential referrals and strategies.  These strategies are then put in place within the classroom, center and/or the child’s home as a well to help manage the child’s behavior or provide coping strategies and referrals for outside assistance as needed.

  • Therapeutic Supervised Visitation
    We provide therapeutic supervised visitation which is overseen by a Master’s level therapist when concerns are present:

    • One parent has a mental illness
    • There is a high level of conflict between the parties involved
    • In cases of suspected parental alienation
    • An Order of Protection is in place
    • Other situations in which a professional, neutral party is believed to be in the best interest of the children involved

    We cannot provide services off site or in the home. We do make court appearances are requested, as well as provide communication between the court, lawyers, guardian ad litem, etc and reports for the court. Details can be provided at the first session.

    Each parent would be required to come in individually for their own appointment prior to the visitation in order to provide their own histories and perspectives, complete necessary paperwork and provide any information that would be important to share prior to the visit.

  • Court Ordered Anger Management Evaluation & Treatment
    We are contracted with Kane County Court Services as approved providers for court ordered anger management treatment for adults and juveniles.  Our Anger Management curriculum is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Anger Management for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Clients – A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach. This is a 12-week curriculum focusing on:

    • Events and Cues Understanding Anger
    • Anger Control Plans
    • The Aggression Cycle and How to Change It
    • Cognitive Restructuring
    • Assertiveness Training and the Conflict Resolution Model: Alternative Ways to Express Anger
    • Anger and the Family – How Past Learning Can Influence Present Behavior

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy remains one of the most evidence-based forms of treatment and has shown to be an effective time-limited treatment for anger problems. Within the curriculum, we teach relaxation interventions, cognitive interventions, communication skills and combined interventions integrating two or more CBT interventions and target multiple response domains.

What Makes Us Different

We have over 30 years of clinical therapy experience.

We believe in building relationships with outside providers to give the client the best treatment.

We work with schools spanning across 5 counties!

We collaborate with schools regarding 504 Plans and IEPs.

We are mental health consultants for Two River’s Head Start.

We utilize evidence-based therapeutic modalities that have an integrated focus on biological, psychological and social needs, as well as spiritual needs depending on the client.

AREAS OF FOCUS

ADHD

Individuals diagnosed with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder typically have difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and / or impulsiveness. The diagnosis includes three different types: Predominantly Inattentive Types, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and Combined Type. The differences between the types are that individuals with Inattentive Type typically have difficulties with attention, focus, and following through on instructions, while individuals with Hyperactive-Impulsive Type show more symptoms of fidgeting, being “on the go” often, blurting comments out, and interrupting others.

Anger Management

Individuals with anger management issues have trouble processing and expressing their vulnerable feeling states in a healthy and appropriate manner. Anger may function to suppress more difficult emotional states. Individuals with anger problems are often raised in homes that modeled violent and aggressive ways of negotiating conflict. Treatment for anger management often involves training in emotional awareness, problem solving training, role-play, relaxation exercises, and developing an understanding of the cues that trigger aggressive episodes.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a common emotion that anyone has either experienced (e.g., flush cheeks and racing heart before giving a speech) or can relate. Individuals diagnosed with anxiety disorders, however, experience an ongoing or heightened level of anxiety (e.g., tension, restlessness, accelerated heart rate, panic) that interferes with their daily functioning at home, school, work, or within the context of their marriage or relationships. In some cases the individual becomes so panic stricken that he or she becomes immobilized to the point that one cannot leave the house, refuses to drive, or in the case of social anxiety develops various types of phobias (irrational fear of an object or situation).

Behavioral Concerns

Every child faces emotional difficulties from time to time. Feelings of sadness, loss, or emotional extremes are part of growing up. Conflicts between parents and children are also inevitable as children struggle through adolescence to develop their own identities. At times, however, some children may develop inappropriate emotional and behavioral responses to situations in their lives that persist over time. There are three criteria that can help in deciding whether a child’s behavior is normal or a sign that the youngster needs help:

Does it just go on and on with no sign that the child is going to outgrow it and progress to a new stage?

How intense is the behavior? Are they frightening to parents and suggest that some specific intervention might be necessary? Pay attention to the child’s feelings of despair or hopelessness; lack of interest in family, friends, school or other activities once considered enjoyable; or behaviors that are dangerous to the child or to others.

How old is the child? Not all children reach the same emotional milestones at the same age, but extreme deviations from age-appropriate behaviors may well be cause for concern.

Bullying

Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions.

Depression

As with anxiety, depressive symptoms are a common human experience. We all get down or experience the blues from time to time. However, with depressive disorders, the frequency and / or intensity of the depressed mood (e.g., sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness, loss of pleasure, insomnia, loss of concentration, loss of appetite, and difficulty making decisions) becomes so pervasive that it causes a significant disruption in daily living. In the most extreme case, one may begin to question whether life is worth living resulting in suicidal ideation.

Family Conflict

Conflict can happen when family members have different views or beliefs that clash. Sometimes conflict can occur when people misunderstand each other and jump to the wrong conclusion. Issues of conflict that are not resolved peacefully can lead to arguments and resentment. It is normal to disagree with each other from time to time. Occasional conflict is part of family life. However, ongoing conflict can be stressful and damaging to relationships. Some people find it difficult to manage their feelings and become intentionally hurtful, aggressive or even violent. Communicating in a positive way can help reduce conflict so that family members can reach a peaceful resolution. This usually means that everyone agrees to a compromise or agrees to disagree. Sometimes, strong emotions or the power imbalances that can be present in relationships are difficult to resolve and can only be addressed in a counseling situation.

High Functioning Autism

High-functioning autism includes individuals with an autism spectrum disorder who can communicate, read, write, and handle social interaction to an extent. They can live independently and are mostly like everyone else. People with High Functioning Autism spectrum disorder may have a hard time in social situations and reading social cues. They may find that it is difficult to make friends and to communicate freely with other people. These are symptoms that are common throughout all of the Autism spectrum disorders. It is also possible that individuals living with High Functioning Autism can find it difficult to make eye contact and may have a repetitive routine and/or habits.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are emotional disturbances consisting of prolonged periods of excessive sadness, excessive joyousness, or both. Mood disorders can occur in children and adolescents. Mood disorders are categorized as depressive or bipolar.

A mood disorder is diagnosed when sadness or elation is overly intense and persistent, is accompanied by a requisite number of other mood disorder symptoms, and significantly impairs the person’s capacity to function. In such cases, intense sadness is termed depression, and intense elation is termed mania. Depressive disorders are characterized by depression; bipolar disorders are characterized by varying combinations of depression and mania.

Obsessive Thoughts

Individuals with obsessive thoughts may have trouble pushing negative thinking out or feel overwhelmed by constant self-criticism or need to change something in their environment.  These ideas, urges or images may lead to feelings of distress, anxiety, panic or depression.

School Challenges

Whether learning, organization or social, some individuals may benefit from support to assist with a variety of accommodations.  With professional support, an individual’s study skills, patterns, and learning styles can be explored and work can be done to identify new strategies.  Additionally, if a client would benefit from accommodations, either via an IEP or 504, the therapist can assist with advocating for the client.

Self-Harming Behaviors

Individuals who engage in self-injurious behavior typically intentionally direct harm on their body (e.g., via cutting, burning, scratching, etc.). These behaviors can be seen as “parasuicidal” and can be connected at times to actual suicidal behavior. Individuals who self-harm express their feelings through injurious behaviors. Self-injurious behavior can be included as symptoms of other disorders (e.g., Borderline Personality Disorder). Therapy focuses in on helping bring awareness to the individual of their dysfunctional behaviors and guiding them to more functional ways of expressing difficulties.

Social Skills

Social skills are what we use to understand and communicate with others.  An understanding in expected and unexpected social behaviors is important in functioning well within society and various relationships with others.  If an individual is struggling with connecting, building and maintaining relationships and social cues are not being understood, this an area that could be managed and focused on in treatment.

Trauma

Following any distressing or life-threatening event, psychological trauma can set in. Sufferers may develop emotional issues, such as extreme anxiety, anger, sadness, survivor’s guilt, or PTSD. They may have ongoing problems with sleep or physical pain, trouble with their personal and professional relationships, and low self-esteem issues. Research on trauma outlines several healthy ways of coping, such as avoiding alcohol and drugs, seeing loved ones regularly, exercising, sleeping, and other methods of self-care. There are people who are able to overcome trauma, offering inspiration to others who have had life-altering negative experiences.

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, sexual abuse or assault, domestic violence, combat, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Psychologists can help these individuals find constructive ways of managing their emotions.

Developmental & Behavioral Testing

Neuropsychological Assessment

Why Are Children Referred for Assessments?

Children are referred by a doctor, teacher, school psychologist, or other professional because of one or more problems, such as:

  • Difficulty in learning, attention, behavior, socialization, or emotional control;
  • A disease or inborn developmental problem that affects the brain in some way; or
  • A brain injury from an accident, birth trauma, or other physical stress.

A neuropsychological evaluation assists in better understanding your child’s functioning in areas such as memory, attention, perception, coordination, language, and personality. This information will help you and your child’s teacher, therapists, and physician provide treatments and interventions for your child that will meet his or her unique needs.

What Is Assessed?

A typical neuropsychological evaluation of a school-age child may assess these areas:

  • General intellect
  • Achievement skills, such as reading and math
  • Executive skills, such as organization, planning, inhibition, and flexibility
  • Attention
  • Learning and memory
  • Language
  • Visual–spatial skills
  • Motor coordination
  • Behavioral and emotional functioning
  • Social skills
What Should I Expect?

A neuropsychological evaluation usually includes an interview with parents about the child’s history, observation of and interview with the child, and testing. Testing involves paper and pencil and hands-on activities, answering questions, and sometimes using a computer. Parents may be asked to fill out questionnaires about their child’s development and behavior. Parents are usually not in the room during testing, although they may be present with very young children.

What you tell your child about this evaluation depends on how much he or she can understand. Be simple and brief and relate your explanation to a problem that your child knows about such as “trouble with spelling,” “problems following directions,” or “feeling upset.”  Tell your child that you are trying to understand his or her problem to make things better. You may also tell the child that “nobody gets every question right,” and that the important thing is to “try your best.”

How is this Different From a School Psychological Assessment?

School assessments are usually performed to determine whether a child qualifies for special education programs or therapies to enhance school performance. They focus on achievement and skills needed for academic success. Generally, they do not diagnose learning or behavior disorders caused by altered brain function or development.