Common Questions

How do I know if my child needs to come to Plena?

Deciding to participate in a higher level of behavioral health care can be scary and is often not an easy decision for a parent. However, at Plena we will be with you every step of the way. An initial phone conversation to get a better understanding of your child’s needs is the first step. If your goals align with services delivered at Plena, your child or adolescent will be scheduled for a clinical assessment. The assessment allows us to better understand your child’s needs and make the best treatment recommendations.

When can my child start?

After the assessment, the Plena team will work with you to determine an appropriate start date.  At times, there may be a short wait due to demand for programming.

Does Plena collaborate with my child’s outpatient therapist and doctor?

Collaboration of care is very important for your child’s treatment success.  With your permission, Plena will contact your child’s current outpatient treatment team upon program admission and remain in contact for the duration of the program.

Who will be providing treatment to my child?

Plena’s team includes two board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists, licensed clinical professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, a licensed teacher, an expressive therapist (board-certified music therapist), and multiple patient support specialists. The team provides child and family centered care that is individualized to your child and family’s needs.

What is “evidence-based” treatment and why does it matter?

Evidence-based treatment is a template used by clinicians to select treatments that are thoroughly supported by research while also considering you and your child’s individual characteristics, values, and preferences along with our clinical expertise. Utilizing an evidence-based treatment approach allows our clinicians to draw upon decades of research in the treatment of child and adolescent mental health, while simultaneously allowing us to tailor our approach to your child and family needs. At Plena, we truly believe there is no “one size fits all” treatment, and utilizing an evidence-based treatment approach allows us to accomplish our goal of tailoring treatments to individual needs while providing treatments that have excellent research support.

What if Plena is not the right program for my child?

Fit is important in pediatric behavioral health.  We want your child to be successful at Plena, this is why we conduct an assessment prior to admission. If Plena is not the right fit for your child or family for any reason – our team will make an external referral to an alternative program based on your child’s most pressing needs.

What is my role as a parent or a guardian?

As a parent or guardian, you will be an integral participant in the treatment process. At Plena, we aim to ensure open communication and collaboration about your child’s diagnosis, medication recommendations, and symptom management. The treatment team works collaboratively with parents and caregivers to identify approaches that help you support your child’s needs and provide strategies to help navigate your child’s feelings, symptoms, and behaviors.

What are the payment options for my child’s treatment?

Plena is in-network with many commercial insurances.  We will obtain prior authorization (as necessary) and send all claims to the payors.  Plena also offers flexible payment plans. 

How does Plena work with my child’s school during treatment?

During PHP, 90 minutes per day is dedicated to schoolwork. A certified teacher will coordinate with you and your child’s school to obtain assignments and provide individualized academic support during the program day. For PHP and IOP, your child’s primary clinician will communicate relevant information to your child’s school social worker/psychologist and coordinate return to school upon program completion (as needed).

What treatment approaches does Plena utilize?

The clinicians at Plena utilize evidence-based treatment modalities that focus on symptom reduction. Group, individual, and family sessions are provided. All treatment modalities are child and family centered and focused on increased functioning. In order to gain more unique insights and address the deeper core of each child’s unique challenges, a combination of different approaches may be helpful. In some cases, a combination of medication with psychotherapy may be more effective.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) helps a child understand and accept their inner emotions. ACT therapists help children and teens use their deeper understanding of their emotional struggles to commit to moving forward in a positive way. 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps improve a child’s moods, anxiety, and behavior by examining confused or distorted patterns of thinking. CBT therapists teach children that thoughts cause feelings and moods which can influence behavior. During CBT, a child learns to identify harmful thought patterns. The therapist then helps the child replace this thinking with thoughts that result in more appropriate feelings and behaviors. Research shows that CBT can be effective in treating a variety of conditions, including depression and anxiety. Specialized forms of CBT have also been developed to help children cope with traumatic experiences.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can be used to treat older adolescents who have chronic suicidal feelings/thoughts, engage in intentionally self-harmful behaviors, or have Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT emphasizes taking responsibility for one’s problems and helps the person examine how they deal with conflict and intense negative emotions. This often involves a combination of group and individual sessions.

Family Therapy focuses on helping the family function in more positive and constructive ways by exploring patterns of communication and providing support/ education. Family therapy sessions can include the child or adolescent along with parents, siblings, and grandparents.

Group Therapy is a form of psychotherapy where there are multiple patients led by one or more therapists. It uses the power of group dynamics and peer interactions to increase understanding of mental illness and/or improve social skills. There are many different types of group therapy (e.g. psychodynamic, social skills, substance abuse, multi-family, parent support, etc.)

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a brief treatment specifically developed and tested for depression, but also used to treat a variety of other clinical conditions. IPT therapists focus on how interpersonal events affect an individual’s emotional state. Individual difficulties are framed in interpersonal terms, and then problematic relationships are addressed.

Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT) involves working with children and teens who struggle with who they are. MBT is focused on helping children grow into healthy individuals. 

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy emphasizes understanding the issues that motivate and influence a child’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. It can help identify a child’s typical behavior patterns, defenses, and responses to inner conflicts and struggles. Psychoanalysis is a specialized, more intensive form of psychodynamic psychotherapy which usually involves several sessions per week. Psychodynamic psychotherapies are based on the assumption that a child’s behavior and feelings will improve once the inner struggles are brought to light.

Supportive Therapy gives children and teens support in their lives to cope with stress, identify helpful and unhelpful behaviors, and improve self-esteem.

What if my child needs a medication evaluation?

Integrated medication assessment and management is a crucial part of providing comprehensive care to your child. While not every child will require medication to assist in the management of their symptoms, in some cases medication may be a part of your child’s optimal treatment plan. In order to complete individualized assessments and make thoughtful recommendations, a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist will be on site daily. This allows the psychiatrist to personally observe your child’s response to medication and enables the psychiatrist to make accurate recommendations regarding modifications in coordination with you, your child, and the clinical team.

How long will my child be in treatment?

The length of your child’s treatment is individualized based on symptoms, response to treatment, and progress toward treatment goals. Throughout your child’s treatment, your child’s individual therapist will have ongoing discussions with you and your child to ensure that your treatment goals are being supported.

What happens when my child is ready for discharge?

Prior to transitioning out of treatment, the clinical team will collaborate with you and your child to ensure the creation of an individualized aftercare treatment plan that considers ongoing therapeutic interventions, school support, and medication management that will meet the distinctive needs of your family.