Mental, Behavioral and Substance Use Counseling

Our Outpatient Therapy services include mental health, substance use and behavioral health counseling for individuals age 3 through adult. Services are performed at our office, in schools and sometimes in the home.

Helpful, not judgmental

We employ professionals who specialize in working with people who have histories of trauma. Your child is in the right hands at Youth Intensive Services. We’re sympathetic, non-judgmental, and we recognize that each child and each situation is unique.

How do I know my child needs therapy?

Our clients come in through referrals from county agencies and directly from parents and caregivers.

If you see a child struggling in school, having emotional outbursts, or if you’re observing a change in their behavior where they’re feeling depressed or angry. If there’s been a significant change in their life due to abuse, grief, family situations like divorce or a blending of households.

These could be signs your child could benefit from talking to a counselor. Contact us and schedule an assessment.


Family and sibling therapy

We don’t prescribe to a philosophy where we’re asked to “fix my kid” and then send them home and nothing changes at home. In many cases the behavior is coming from something that’s going on in the home environment. So unless you work with the parents and/or siblings, too, this change doesn’t last.

For that reason, we often recommend family or sibling therapy. Let’s get everyone in the room and talk through a facilitated discussion. For best results in counseling it often requires the parents and siblings to be involved.

Does health insurance cover counseling?

Youth Intensive Services accepts all Medicaid plans and most private insurance. Private insurance typically covers medication management and counseling services.

How long will therapy take before my child is “fixed?”

Therapy of this type is typically not intended to reach its conclusion in one or two visits. Every situation is unique, however, but the common thread among our success stories is consistency. Make your appointments, keep your appointments and do what the counselor suggests.

We’ll know it’s done through a combination of when the parent or caregiver is thinking they’re doing better and when we’re seeing improvement ourselves. We’ve seen some cases go 3 months and be done, whereas another child could come on and off for years. It really depends on what the issue is.

In younger children, if it’s a behavior issue related to parenting, for instance, if the parent does what they’re supposed to do and stays consistent, you can see changes fairly quickly.

If it’s a trauma or abuse issue typically they need 6 months or longer to work through everything. But it also depends how long the abuse occurred. Was it one time or over years? If it is sexual abuse it’s on a whole separate timeline. In many cases other factors include how old the child was, the child themselves, the situation, what their experience was and what level of investment the family makes in the therapy.

Parents who are consistent, bring them every week, and follow through with what they need them to do at home; those children are going to make progress more quickly. The ones that don’t, or sometimes we see additional trauma issues arise along the way that further complicate the situation; these situations will delay any resolution.

It’s natural that some parents don’t want to feel like they’ve caused some of these issues, while others will ask what they can do to make it better. The bottom line is we’ll work with the child, work with the family dynamic and together provide the tools for everyone to work to resolve the issue.

As a trauma-informed care agency, our counselors are trained in a variety of techniques to address issues causing problems in our clients’ lives, including play therapy for the very young.

Play Therapy

Through their play, that’s where their story comes out

One way Youth Intensive Services is unique in the Mahoning Valley is that it employs one of the only registered play therapists in the state of Ohio. Play therapy is evidenced based, effective modality for clients –from children to adults.

When a 3-year-old comes in, we play. For children too young to sit and discuss issues like an adult, we employ play therapy. We draw pictures, play with sand trays and talk about what they did with each. We discuss in their terms how they see the world. Is it a safe place or a dangerous place? We assess their coping skills this way.

Through play we’ll see themes emerge like violence, rescue, protection or save me. Kids can work through trauma by playing and telling stories. They remember things in pieces. It’s not a linear story like it is with older children or adults. For young kids, their traumatic memories are in bits and pieces. They remember certain details. Even a smell. It’s not often a whole complete picture.

When they play in sand or perform art it can sometimes tap into that sensory part of the brain. You watch how their behavior and their play changes over time during therapy and you can tell when they’re getting better. When normal kids play it’s seen as fun and spontaneous. Trauma-victim kids come in and it’s work. They’re intense; meticulous where they put things. For them it’s not always about having fun. They’re working on stuff.

Through play therapy we can work with them and help them get through these serious issues. That’s a huge part of what we do different.

– Cindy Zeisler, Clinical Director

For more information on Outpatient Services, contact Youth Intensive Services at 330-318-3436.