Cathy Eisenhower, LPC

Parenting can be tough, and I’m here to help.

Maybe your toddler can’t stop his tantrums, your third-grader refuses to go to school, or your teen is struggling with coming out as transgender.

You’re not sure how your divorce is affecting your kids, and you’re worried about them.

Or your child is adopted and you are working hard to feel connected, working hard to help her when she’s out of control.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor and a play therapist, I’m here to get you started on the path to healing in a collaborative, caring, and confidential relationship.

I offer treatment for struggles such as:

Depression

Anxiety

Excessive worry

Sleep problems

Aggressive behaviors

Intense fearfulness

School problems

Sexual and physical abuse

Self-harm

 

Separation anxiety

Postpartum depression

Prenatal emotional difficulties

Divorce

Chronic illness

Early medical trauma

Grief and loss

Gender Identity

Suicidal thoughts

 

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, CALL 512-309-7405

 

Common Questions

Deciding to start therapy for your child can be stressful and confusing, so here are some common questions along with answers that might help lessen the stress.

How do I know if my child needs therapy?

It’s normal to worry about your kids but also not want to overreact to troubling emotions and behaviors that may simply go away. If you feel concerned, it can’t hurt to consult with a professional in children’s mental health to determine next steps, if any. Child therapists don’t want to treat children who don’t need it, so you can share your worries and experiences with a therapist to help you decide if you should bring your child in. Sometimes your pediatrician can also help you figure out if it’s time to seek the help of a professional.

How do I choose a therapist?

 I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s even hard for therapists to choose their own therapists. The decision is so much about the potential for a productive therapeutic relationship, but we can’t really predict the future. Sometimes we meet a therapist and we know right away it isn’t a good fit. Other times we’re not sure–therapy is often an uncomfortable, anxiety-producing effort, and that’s part of the process. Finding a therapist who makes all our anxiety go away isn’t always a good thing–change requires discomfort, for kids and adults. That being said, here are some tips for finding a therapist who can help:

  • If you definitely can’t pay out of pocket for a therapist, call your insurance company or search online for a list of child and adolescent therapists in your area who accept your insurance. Psychology Today’s Therapist Finder is a good start. Once you have a list, show it to others–your pediatrician, therapist friends, school counselors, teachers, clergy, or anyone else you think might have some experience with local child therapists–and see if they recognize and recommend any names.
  • Ask your doula or midwife, pediatrician, clergy, friends, daycare staff, teachers, pediatrician, school counselors. Many of these members of your community will have some experience with child therapists and will give you a name to get you started.
  • If you call a therapist who’s not taking new clients, ask that therapist for referrals to other trusted professionals.
  • It’s a good idea to meet with several therapists before you choose, especially if therapy is new to your family. When one stands out to you, give it a few sessions to make a decision. Most therapists will tell you that after 3-4 sessions, they will check in to see if it’s a good fit.
  • Feel free to call me (512-309-7405) if you have more questions about this–I’m happy to talk with you and try to help figure out how to find the right therapist for you and your child.

What will play therapy be like? Will I be in the room, too?

This is a common question, and one that is different for each family and each therapist. Play therapy runs the gamut, so some therapists work with the whole family in sessions, others see the child and parents separately, some do a combination. In my work, I assess the needs of the child and family in the first 4-5 sessions, at which point I meet with parents to discuss my observations and recommendations for treatment, which could be dyadic work (one caregiver in the room with me and the child) or individual play therapy, which means I would have sessions with your child and separate parenting sessions less frequently.  I’m not a family therapist, so I don’t generally see the whole family at once unless I’m doing an observation of how a family interacts and plays together, which is usually part of the assessment.

I also offer the Circle of Security Parenting Program, which provides support and education for parents on attending to your child’s emotional needs.

How will a therapist work with me and my teen?

Another question many parents have, this also has many possible responses. When I begin seeing an adolescent for therapy, it really depends on what stage of adolescence, the child’s unique developmental needs, and the reason for the therapy. For example, if a teen is coming for therapy around being transgender, the parent/s may need significant support and education about gender nonconformity and what they can do to help their teen feel loved and accepted, requiring more parent sessions and probably other resources, such as support groups, books, and organizations that serve gender variant communities. On the other hand, if a young teen needs a neutral space to explore emotional states and anxieties or depression, I may meet less often with the family and focus more on individual work with the child. It just really depends. I collaborate with teens to make these decisions, helping them feel they have power at a time when they usually feel powerless.

 

 

 

Meet Cathy

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and play therapist living in Austin, Texas, and I am also licensed in the District of Columbia where I lived for many years. After earning a Master’s of Education in Mental Health Counseling from George Washington University, I did post-graduate training at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. I have experience conducting psychotherapy groups with children, adolescents, and adults, including in a hospital setting, and individual psychotherapy as well. My play therapy expertise comes from working at the Lourie Center for Children’s Social and Emotional Wellness in Rockville, MD, where they specialize in training clinicians in attachment-based play therapy for individual children and for parent-child pairs. I specialize in early childhood mental health and work with kids from infancy to young adulthood, specifically with families experiencing divorce, children who have suffered early trauma, and gender-variant children and teens.

I have specialized experience and training in the following:

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, CALL 512-309-7405

Child & Adolescent Therapy

Your child may benefit from individual play therapy, parent-child play therapy, or psychotherapy, depending on age and particular needs. Feel free to call me for a consultation on what might be appropriate for your child.

Individual play therapy helps a child express thoughts and emotions in a safe, therapeutic space through the activity of play. Because young children are still developing their capacity for self-reflection, their understanding of the world, and their language skills, play therapy allows them to demonstrate their emotional states and work through their struggles in a way that comes most naturally to them. Parent/s meet with me often in sessions separate from the play sessions for help understanding your child’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and tracking progress.

Parent-infant/child play therapy is similar to individual play therapy, though in this case a caregiver is also in the room. I work with both of you to support your relationship and help determine how to respond most sensitively and productively to your infant or child. This is generally for children under 3 years old, but can work with older children as well.

Individual psychotherapy for adolescents takes into account the developmental stage of teenagers and their burgeoning independence. The changes in a teen’s life can be confusing for teens and parents. A therapist who listens without judgment has the sole purpose of helping teen and family understand what they are experiencing and how they might alleviate the emotional states that produce problematic behaviors and interpersonal conflict . Because the family is a system, working with parents remains crucial to the therapy.

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, CALL 512-309-7405

Fees & Insurance

Insurance

I offer a sliding scale and I accept BCBS PPO. Some insurance plans also offer out-of-network benefits that would reimburse a portion of the fee once claims are filed. I would be happy to consult with you about how to find out the amount your plan will cover for psychotherapy and about a sliding scale. Generally, you can find out the following by calling your insurance company:

  • What is the “usual, reasonable, and customary” maximum amount allowed by your insurance company for the following services. (I have included what is called the “CPT Code” for services rendered, which will help you find out this information.)
    • 90837 (Psychotherapy, Play therapy)
    • 90846 (Family therapy without child–for parent sessions when child is in play therapy or psychotherapy)
    • 90847 (Family therapy with child–for assessments and for parent-child sessions)
    • 90791 (Assessment, usually one or two sessions)
    • 90853 (Group psychotherapy)
  • What percentage will the insurance company pay of the “usual, reasonable, and customary” fee?
  • What is your deductible, and do you have an out-of-network maximum payment amount?
  • Do you need preauthorization for outpatient mental health visits?
  • How many visits does the plan cover for mental health?
  • Be sure to let them know the discipline of your mental health provider–in my case, a Licensed Professional Counselor.

If you have questions about insurance and mental health coverage, please consult the National Alliance on Mental Illness web site regarding denial of benefits and the Mental Health Parity Act.

Fees

My fees start at $130 for a 50-minute session, and I offer a sliding scale as well.

Payment

You can pay by cash or personal check. I also accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, CALL 512-309-7405