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Counseling Services

History
 

Prior to October 1998, the Collin County Juvenile Probation Department contracted with other licensed mental health professionals to provide counseling services for those adolescents in need of counseling for problems involving substance abuse, aggression management, or other behavioral adjustment concerns. Since then, CCJPD has employed a licensed mental health professional with substance abuse treatment expertise to provide services for youths under the supervision of CCJPD. Initially the department employed one Substance Abuse Counselor to serve both the McKinney and the Plano offices with substance abuse assessments and counseling. Other mental health services were contracted with independent providers. Additional state funding allowed the program to be expanded in January 2001 to employ two counselors, one based at each office, to provide both mental health and substance abuse assessments and counseling. Since that time, our counseling staff has expanded further.  Currently, the department has on staff one Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and 5 Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSW).  Two of them serve clients in the Plano office of Juvenile Probation and two provide services for probationers in the McKinney office.  In addition to these, two counselors are assigned to the juvenile detention center and counsel with the residents in the post-adjudication program.

The role of the Juvenile Probation Counselor now includes general behavioral adjustment counseling and aggression management counseling as well as substance abuse counseling. The Juvenile Probation Counselor also consults with Juvenile Probation Officers and counsels individually with clients and their families, at both offices and at the Juvenile Detention Center. Additionally, the Counselor usually is on-premises and often provides immediate unscheduled crisis counseling to youths and their families who are visiting their Juvenile Probation Officer. [CCJPD contracts to provide supportive and intensive outpatient treatment for juvenile sex offenders, as well as intensive substance abuse treatment for identified juveniles remanded to post-adjudication detention (3-12 months) in the Juvenile Detention Center. The Department also contracts for full psychological evaluations for clients identified as possibly having extensive problems and for all youths remanded to post-adjudication detention.]

 
How It Works

Referrals may be required, recommended, or requested. Clients can be referred by court orders, judges, assistant district attorneys, juvenile probation officers, assessment recommendations, concerned family members, or by self-referral. A referral either by the Court (judge or ADA) or by the Juvenile Probation Officer becomes a requirement of the terms and conditions of the probation or release from detention. Youth (and/or their parents/guardians) are expected to attend and participate in recommended (required) counseling until successfully discharged from counseling or probation.

Often, clients are referred first to the Juvenile Probation Counselor to assess the needs of the client. Most CCJPD substance abuse and/or aggression management counseling services are provided in peer group format. You may request or be referred for individual and/or family sessions if you want/need more personalized help. A referral to Substance Abuse Counseling indicates that there are one or more indicators of a risk of substance abuse. Some indicators include: a urinalysis which is positive for the presence of some controlled substance, admission of previous or recent substance abuse, legal involvement related to substance abuse, behavior which suggests substance abuse, a substance abuse screening or assessment which indicates a possible problem, and/or recent treatment for substance abuse. A referral to Aggression Management Counseling indicates that the referred client demonstrates a lack of appropriate skills in coping with anger without aggression. Documented or reported incidents of assaults or aggressive behavior at home, at school, or in the community generally prompt a referral. Parents can also request referrals for such mental health services from the Court or the Juvenile Probation Officer. Mental Health Counseling is indicated when a client reveals suicidal ideas or impulses, or significant behavioral problems (sometimes involving mental health problems like Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder), or serious psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety or mood disorders (like panic attacks or depression or bipolar disorder that might require psychiatric medication).

Services provided by the Juvenile Probation Counselor are generally intended as brief therapy interventions, rather than long-term comprehensive treatment. Teen groups are conducted after school hours, and a limited number of individual or family sessions are available after school or work hours. These assessment and counseling services are provided at no additional cost to the client, and are funded by your tax dollars. Obviously CCJPD cannot afford to provide treatment to every youth referred for supervision, so the department makes referrals to publicly funded resources and the family's employee assistance program or health insurance benefits whenever appropriate. The goal is to provide those mental health services necessary to enable the youth to successfully complete CCJPD supervision, and, ideally, to avoid recidivism.

 
Assessments

Clients are often referred to the Juvenile Probation Counselor for an initial assessment of significant problems and recommendations for needed services. Generally, the Juvenile Probation Counselor will interview the referred adolescent and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s), both together and separately, to hear each family member's viewpoint. The assessment counselor gathers information about the family and how the adolescent's use of alcohol or other drugs affects her or his behavior, family and social relationships, mental and physical health, school and/or job, and involvement with the law. The counselor also tries to identify particular stressors and any family or individual mental health or behavioral problems that may adversely affect the youth's conduct. Comprehensive assessments are usually conducted in one session lasting from 1½ to 2 hours. The findings and recommendations are reported to the youth and family and to the Juvenile Probation Officer.

 
Substance Abuse Counseling

A referral to Substance Abuse Counseling indicates that there are one or more indicators of a risk of substance abuse. Some indicators are: a urinalysis which is positive for the presence of some controlled substance, admission of previous or recent substance abuse, legal involvement related to substance abuse, behavior which suggests substance abuse, a substance abuse screening or assessment which indicates a possible problem, and/or recent treatment for substance abuse. Two significantly different client groups are served. Those who have misused alcohol or other drugs and are accepting of a drug-free lifestyle can get support in developing effective coping skills in an educational group format. The group for those who continue abusing intoxicating substances despite the risks or consequences focuses on developing a motivation to avoid using mood-altering substances and relapse prevention skills. The Counselor determines who attends which group and for how long. Individual and family substance abuse counseling is also provided as determined appropriate. Most services are provided in the CCJPD office, although some individual and group substance abuse counseling is provided to certain clients being detained in the Juvenile Detention Center. For those individuals with indicators of a substance abuse problem, the services of the Juvenile Probation Counselor are intended as an intervention measure-a precursor or supplement to, rather than a substitute for chemical dependency treatment. Clients in need of more intensive treatment are referred to appropriate treatment providers via the family's insurance plan or publicly funded program.

 
Aggression Management Counseling

An initial educational peer group presents alternatives to aggressive responses-incorporating general information, personal insight, and specific coping skills regarding anger, communication, thinking errors, negotiation, compromise, and stress reduction. Group members may be expected to complete written assignments and participate in group exercises. Those individuals who fail to progress may be referred for further aggression management counseling in group, individual and/or family sessions.

 
Mental Health Counseling

This service generally addresses a youth's self-defeating or disruptive behavior in an individual or family format. Typical issues addressed include: grief and loss, depression, isolation, low self-esteem, anxiety, defiance of authority, parenting concerns, and family conflicts. Sometimes this brief therapy is offered to address a particular problem while the individual or family continues in treatment with another mental health provider. Sometimes these services are the only therapy resource available to the family. Sometimes individual and/or family counseling is a requirement of the terms of probation, due to the nature of the offense. Medication can only be prescribed by a doctor, and is not included in CCJPC mental health services.