Frequently Asked Questions
You will be directed to an intake worker who will talk with you about your concerns regarding your child, explain the ways Austin Child Guidance Center (ACGC) can help, and share information about other community services. If you are interested in services at ACGC, the intake worker will complete an initial request form which includes some basic information about your child and family.
Following this initial phone call, our staff will either give you options for an initial appointment. Both the parent and the child need to attend this initial appointment. If no appointment is available, you will be referred to ACGC’s walk-in clinic or advised to call back in a week to see if there are additional appointment times available. You will also be provided with external counseling referrals.
Depending on your income, the minimum is $12 and the maximum of $120.
Yes, we will accept your insurance if it is one of the following: Blue Cross – Blue Shield PPO, CHIP, Traditional Medicaid, Superior Star Medicaid, and Tricare. In addition to these, we will accept most standard and PPO insurance plans. If your plan is a PPO and we are not on that plan then our Center would be considered for out of network coverage. In that case, you would then be required to first pay or meet your deductible before we could utilize your insurance.
Currently, we do not accept Amerigroup, Unicare, or Superior Foster Care Medicaid.
No, you will be given the opportunity to continue in treatment using our sliding fee scale. The actual amount you would pay is based on your annual income and family size.
When you first come to Austin Child Guidance Center the specific amount that you will be expected to pay at each visit will be determined based on your family size and income. For ongoing individual or family therapy, the cost may range from $10 to $100 a session.
There are many reasons for children to misbehave. Children might misbehave because they have feelings of depression or anxiety that they don’t know how to manage. They may have undiagnosed attention disorders. There may be conflict or other problems in the family that are distressing to the child. A therapist will conduct a complete evaluation and, based on the evaluation and input from the family, a plan will be developed to improve the areas of concern.
Our staff consists of professionals with advanced degrees and licensure in various fields including psychiatry, psychology, social work, family therapy, and professional counseling. Additional members of the clinical staff include graduate level students who are completing internships at Austin Child Guidance Center as part of their degree requirements. Some of our therapists are bilingual – Spanish speaking.
Parents are important in the treatment planning and treatment process; the participation level for parents will depend on the presenting problem, the specific goals of therapy and the type of therapy provided. For example, in filial therapy and family therapy, the parent(s) are present throughout the session. In individual therapy, the child meets alone with the therapist, but the therapist and parents will consult on a regular basis.
We consider parents an important part of the treatment team, but the focus of treatment is the child. A therapist will see your child one hour a week and often will use some of that time to check in with the parents and other family members. This latter is often referred to as family therapy. However, sometimes family therapy may not be enough for the parent and in those cases we may recommend that a parent receive his or her own individual treatment. When this happens, an appropriate referral will be provided.
The length of treatment varies depending on the presenting problem or problems, the difficulty of the issue, the family situation, and other factors. The average length of treatment is three months. However, some parents have felt their needs have been met with a brief evaluation and consultation. On some occasions, children have been in treatment for a year or more.
The type of therapy provided depends on the age of your child and the presenting problem. Therapy is guided by goals that are set with the child and parents at the first session. To meet these goals, younger children may participate in individual play therapy, which consists of playing with a child for 45-50 minutes and utilizing the “language of play” to clarify the emotions and issues the child might be experiencing. With older children the therapist may utilize a combination of play therapy and “talking” therapy, perhaps using therapeutic games such as The Talking, Feeling, Doing Game or the Stop, Relax and Think Game. Adolescents are generally able to participate in “talking” therapy or outdoor experiential, hands on activities.
No. Therapists at ACGC approach divorce issues with the perspective that children need to have the opportunity to develop a healthy and positive relationship with both parents. The purpose of therapy at ACGC would be to provide children a safe place where they can express and explore their feelings concerning the divorce. If a child’s therapist goes to court as an advocate for one of the parents, the therapist has become an advocate for the parent and ceases to be an advocate for the child. In addition, the child would feel betrayed if the therapist disclosed in a public arena information the child considered confidential.
ACGC is located at the northeast corner of 45th and Lamar near two major bus stops. However, if it is still difficult to get to the Center we have some limited funds for cab transportation and this may be available depending on your financial situation. ACGC has community based programs in some areas of Austin. Please check with your child’s school counselor to see if ACGC has a program in your child’s school. In some cases we can make home visits, but this decision is made on a case by case basis.
Yes, as a parent you can refuse the recommendation for medication, but if the situation worsens or does not improve, we may have to end services or direct you to other resources. We know it is sometimes difficult for a parent to hear that their child may require some type of medication. We are very conservative in regard to recommending children be put on medication. However, at times it is in the best interest of the child to try a trial of medication and closely monitor the results. Sometimes the only way a child can get better or improve is through the taking of medication.
No, we only have a part time psychiatrist who can write prescriptions and therefore are not in a position to offer this service. If your child needs only medication we will refer you to your primary care physician.
When therapy begins the child may be tentative or anxious to open up and talk with a therapist. Because of this, time is spent building rapport with the child by perhaps engaging in light conversation or playing games. As the child begins to talk more and open up or the therapist pushes the conversation towards more painful topics the child will be recalling events and feeling things that are not very comfortable. The child can become very withdrawn or agitated and when this happens the child can carry these thoughts and feelings out of the session. However, this opening up is not necessarily bad but is a sign that these issues can now be talked about and as a result progress made to begin the healing process.
Therapy is not about determining who has done something wrong. Parenting a child is the hardest job you will ever do in you life. Children’s problems are caused by a variety of issues. We will help you figure out what are the underlying issues for your child and how to address those issues.