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Empowering Families Through Behavioral Health

Consistent with their ongoing commitment to serve children and families who have the greatest needs, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh has been expanding outpatient behavioral health services in the Greater Pittsburgh region. In recent months, the rapid development of telehealth delivery has accelerated their reach. By employing therapeutic interventions to reduce symptoms of stress, alleviate anxiety and depression, decrease sleep disturbances, and improve behaviors, they are helping children function better at school, with their families, and in other relationships.

“We are a support system for our young clients to gain self-awareness and achieve personal goals,” explains Casey Harvilla, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, an outpatient behavioral health therapist at The Children’s Institute. “Our work fosters emotional resilience, builds self-esteem, and enhances coping and social skills.”

The Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic, with a full-time licensed team of five professionals, provides a safe space for children, teens, and young adults to express their emotions and develop abilities that enable future success. Team members employ a variety of theoretical interventions, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused CBT, Art Therapy, and Play Therapy. Skill building in the following areas are often a focus of treatment: emotion regulation, social skill development, mindfulness, and stress reduction. Individual therapy sessions can be delivered through telehealth or in-person appointments. Therapists work in partnership with parents to identify and maximize family strengths, and in collaboration with team members across the organization’s physical health, educational, and family/social service lines. The Children’s Institute is well-equipped to help children and youth manage the impact of trauma, including trauma responses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Living through the uncertainty of this pandemic is traumatic, especially for children and families who were vulnerable prior to its onset,” explains Dr. Wendy Pardee, president and CEO of The Children’s Institute. “With the continuing stressors of the current climate, we are certainly seeing an upward trend in the need for outpatient behavioral health services. Growing these services was already a core component of our Vision 2023 strategic plan. In response to increasing demands and by quickly onboarding telehealth opportunities, The Children’s Institute is increasing our capacity to serve kids and families through a comprehensive array of behavioral health services.”

“In life, everyone will encounter unexpected and challenging circumstances,” Harvilla said. “By working on skills like identifying and learning how to appropriately express emotions, especially those related to fear, anger, and sadness, we gain the tools to better manage all kinds of life situations.”

An Amazing Resource
Outpatient Behavioral Health appointments can be scheduled by calling (412) 420-2447. To make a gift to support these behavioral health initiatives, visit amazingkids.org/giving.

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