Therapy comes in many forms.....

Music Therapy

Music Therapy

Music Therapy


Art therapy

Music Therapy



Lara Hagan, Board Certified Art Therapist and Licenced Professional Counselor


Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine Assisted Therapy



Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine Assisted Therapy


Take Heart Counseling and Equine Assisted Therapy 

"Empowering individuals and families to find hope, healing, and wholeness through therapeutic work with horses."

Mental Health College prep 101

Check out this slide show for information that can be helpful as you prepare to send your child off to college. Just click on download and then click on first slide and microphone icon.

Mental health College Prep 101-2 (pptx)


Mental Health Professionals defined






  • Psychiatrist – A medical doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses.  A psychiatrist can prescribe medication, but they often do not counsel patients.
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist – A medical doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and behavioral problems in children.  Child and Adolescent psychiatrists can also precribe medication; however, they may not provide psychotherapy.
  • Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – A registered nurse practitioner with a graduate degree and specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illness. 






  • Clinical Psychologist – A psychologist with a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited/designated program in psychology.  Psychologists are trained to make diagnoses and provide individual and group therapy. 
  • School Psychologist – A psychologist with an advanced degree in psychology from an accredited/designated program in School Psychology.  School Psychologists are trained to make diagnoses, provide individual and group therapy, and work with school staff to maximize efficiency in the schools setting.






  • Licensed Professional Counselor – A counselor with a masters degree in psychology, counseling or a related field. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group 
  • counseling. 
  • Mental Health Counselor – A counselor with a masters degree and several years of supervised clinical work experience. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor – Counselor with specific clinical training in alcohol and drug abuse. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group couseling. 
  • Pastoral Counselor – clergy with training in clinical pastoral education. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. nseling. 


Peer Specialist




  • Nurse Psychotherapist –  registered nurse who is trained in the practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 
  • Marital and Family Therapist – counselor with a masters degree, with special education and training in marital and family therapy. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. 

Social Worker

Peer Specialist

Peer Specialist



  • Clinical Social Worker – A counselor with a masters degree in social work from an accredited graduate program. Trained to make diagnoses, provide individual and group counseling, and provide case management and advocacy; usually found in the hospital setting.

Peer Specialist

Peer Specialist

Peer Specialist



  • Peer Specialist– counselor with lived experience with mental health or substance use conditions.  Assists clients with recovery by recognizing and developing strengths, and setting goals.  Many peer support programs require several hours of training.

Information for this section obtained from

County Resources


Chester County Intermediate Unit:

"From in-school support to partial hospitalization to behavioral health wraparound services, the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) works alongside families and schools to assist students in prevailing over the challenges of behavioral and mental health disorders".  Info obtained from CCIU website

Chester County office of Mental Health

The Office of Mental Health is an administrative office that contracts with local agencies to provide mental health services and supports.  Typically, residents without health insurance may qualify for some county funding.  Six local agencies serve as entry points to assess needs and help provide services.

Parksburg Point

The overall goals continue to provide support, and resources necessary to make positive life experiences for our youth. We focus on empowerment, boundaries, and expectations with a commitment to learning, create positive values, learn social competencies and create a positive identity in every student all in a supervised, safe environment. All of our programs are designed around these goals. " From their website

Suicide Prevention Task Force

"Chester County Suicide Prevention Task Force’s mission is decreased suicide through increased awareness and education in the community. CCSP Task Force collaborates with the community to develop suicide prevention strategies and works to reduce the risk, stigma and occurrence of suicide in Chester County, Pennsylvania."  Information obtained from their website

Chesco Life

From their facebook page "As parents with our own lived experience through our own children who have challenges, we  have a strong passion and  professional experience to mentor parents and caregivers through their own journey within various systems in Chester County.   Our family support specialists provide encouragement, resources, guidance through systems, linkages to benefits and services, and assist with self-advocacy.   In addition, Chesco LIFE  hosts educational workshops and groups. Family support is provided at no cost to residents of Chester County. Contact us at 484-348-6392 or ."

NAMI PA Chester County

From their website:  "We are an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) serving our local Chester County, Pennsylvania Community."

825 Paoli Pike, West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: (610) 430-0177

County Resources continued...

Community Care Chester County

From their website:  "We help people who have Medical Assistance (the name for Medicaid in Pennsylvania) get behavioral health care. 

Behavioral health care is for:

  • Mental health conditions
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Developmental disabilities

You might not need behavioral health care services. But if you do at any time, we help you get those services. You do not have to pay for these services.

We are here to:

  • Answer any questions you have about behavioral health services.
  • Help you find doctors, counselors, and other medical professionals near you.
  • Help you get transportation to appointments.
  • Make sure you are getting the right treatment.
  • Make sure the services you get are covered so you do not have to pay for them.

Chester County Support Group List

List compiled through SpeakUp! 

SpeakUp! enables youth to make positive life choices – and parents and educators to support them – as they navigate the journey to become healthy, confident adults.

Support groups

Child and Family Guidance

2000 Old West Chester Pike
Havertown, Pennsylvania 19083
(484) 454-8700

NAMI Chester County

You are not alone!  Family members of individuals with a serious mental illness not only endure the initial shock of the illness, but also face a challenging future learning to cope with the responsibility of caring for an ill relative.

Because of discrimination and the stigma surrounding mental illness, many individuals and their families become isolated and feel shame.   This keeps many family members from seeking the help, support and information that they desperately need.

There is no need for you to feel alone because of a serious mental illness in your family.   There are resources available.

Support Groups – Family

  • Central Chester County NAMI Family Support Group, West Chester 1st Wednesday of the month

7:15 – 9 pm

Peer Center

825 Paoli Pike

West Chester, PA 19380

This location meets every first Wednesday of the month all year long.  No need to RSVP.  

NAMI Montgomery County

Lots of great info on this site, many support groups!

Celebrate Life

Every Sunday, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: West Chester Church of the Nazarene, 424 S Darlington Street, West Chester, PA US 19382

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind.

Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to find community and freedom from the issues that are controlling our life.

Childcare is available upon request .Please contact Nathanael if you would like childcare. We meet on Sunday nights in the Providence Café. For more information, contact Nathanael Manthey at 484-402-4182 or 


We begin at 6:00 in our cafe by singing a few worship songs together.After this, there is either a lesson from the Celebrate Recovery curriculum or a testimony. When this is over, newcomers stay in the room for an informational meeting to find out more about CR and if it is a good fit for them. Those who are not new attend an Open Share meeting which are gender specific where it is safe to share without fear of someone trying to "fix" you. When this time of sharing is over, we gather back in the cafe for coffee, snacks, and fellowship. We wrap up before 8:00. 

Catholic Social Services

Chester County Family Services
140 N. Darlington Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: 610-344-7028
Fax: 610-344-0762

Montgomery County Family Services
353 E. Johnson Highway
Norristown, PA 19401
Phone: 610-279-7372
Fax: 610-270-0626

More Resources

Jewish Family Services

866.JFCS.NOW (866.532.7669)

Children and Family Counseling Services

A holistic approach that works 

From website:

When a family is going through turmoil or a family member is in crisis, the experience can seem overpowering, with ripple effects well beyond the privacy of the home. But Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia is here to provide guidance and counseling. We consider all aspects of a family’s or individual’s life and relationships, and provide the full spectrum of supportive services on a wide range of issues. Our licensed clinical social workers use several established techniques and an eclectic approach to evidence-based interventions. Our fee structure is case-by-case and may include a sliding scale, Medicare or additional assistance.

Help for Veterens


Addiction Center : support to military members seeking substance abuse recovery

Wounded Warrior Project

Resources for mental health struggles, PTSD, trauma


 If you are in crisis, please call 911, go to your nearest emergency room, or call 800.273.8255 (Para Español llame 888.628.9454). Veterans: Press "1" after you call, or go to Veterans Crisis Line to chat live with a crisis counselor at any time.  

Active Duty and Veterans Resource Center


  • The WWP Resource Center can assist you with information regarding WWP programs and services to meet your specific needs. Email the WWP Resource Center at or call 888.WWP.ALUM (888.997.2586).
  • Call the VA Health Benefits Service Center toll free at 1-877-222-VETS or explore My HealtheVet, which provides veterans help with VA health care information, services, and locations.
  • Call the Vet Center's national number at 1-800-905-4675 or visit online for more information or to find the location nearest you.
  • Locate non-veteran specific metal health services online through the Mental Health Services Locator hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • Take a look at Sidran. They offer a referral list of therapists, as well as a fact sheet on how to choose a therapist for PTSD.

Information in this section obtained from the website



Eating disorders Support/ Project Heal

Support groups/ hotlines : resource guide

Kacies Cause/ Heroin Addiction support

Speakup Parent Coffee

Alcohol/drug addiction recovery support

Bullying /Support

Types of Programs Defined



 Inpatient Care Inpatient Acute Care*  Intended for people who need 24-hour care and daily doctor visits in a hospital setting to stabilize psychiatric issues. Often recommended for people who aren’t able to care for themselves, or may be a risk to the safety and well-being of themselves or others. Can last for a few days to several weeks . Goal is to stabilize a crisis . Includes group therapy and meeting with a team of professionals, including a psychiatrist.  A family session is important prior to discharge to discuss aftercare plans 

Partial Hospitalization Program ( PHP)

 Partial Hospitalization : Intense structured program ,typically consists of 5-7 days per week for 6 hours each day. Similar to IOP, includes group, individual, and family therapy when appropriate.  Often includes an evaluation by a psychiatrist, who may prescribe or adjust medications . Often recommended for those who have actively participated in lower levels of care, yet continue to experience serious emotional and behavioral problems. Beneficial for those at risk of   hospitalization, or as a step-down for those who have been hospitalized Inpatient Care  

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

 Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP):  Structured treatment that teaches how to manage stress, and better cope with emotional and behavioral issues.  May include group, individual, and family therapy when appropriate. Consists of frequent visits (usually 3-5 days per week) and an average of 3-4 hours of treatment per day for a set period of time (often 4-6 weeks, depending on the program) . Many programs are structured so individuals may work and continue with normal daily routines. The advantage of this type of program is that people have the support of the program, along with other people working on similar issues 

Individual and group Therapy

 Individual counseling – includes counseling sessions with a therapist. 

Medication evaluation and management - includes visits with a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner to determine if medication would be helpful 

 Group therapy – includes weekly group sessions with other people with mental health issues. In group therapy, people often learn from one another’s experiences.  

The above inforamtion obtained from Cigna Healthcare

Things I have learned along the way......

the good, the bad, and the ugly.......


Bryn Mawr Hospital: has inpatient psychiatric unit with physicians in house for Emergency consults if necessary. Use video chat as well to assess patient

Brandywine Hospital: No

Chester County Hospital: No, there is a psychiatrist on call and sees patients in ER via video chat when deemed necessary

Paoli Hospital: No (learned that the hard way)

Lankenau Hospital: No

-Very few therapists and/or psychiatrists accept insurance. They will provide receipt for you to submit. CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AND GET YOUR COVERAGE INFORMATION AND LIST OF IN NETWORK PROVIDERS.

-Not all therapists are created equal, it is very important to look into their areas of expertise, find the right personality fit, and check their availability.

- It may take several attempts until you find the therapist that is the right fit 

-There are many different types of therapy; in-patient , "partial inpatient" (out-patient extended day program), weekly sessions, bi weekly, support groups, etc.


- In PA, most children under age 19 with serious emotional & behavioral  concerns will qualify for services covered by Medical Assistance, regardless of family income.

 Find out more at: and


- There is a medical test that you can get that determines which medications are better suited to your genetic makeup.  It is a simple cheek swab that is sent away and analyzed.  You get a complete report listing drugs by classification showing which will have potential for more side effects and which will be more therapeutic.  Many out there , I just know of Genecept Assay.


Call your insurance company and KNOW YOUR COVERAGE, ask for a list of IN NETWORK the process of submitting for reimbursement for out of network providers and what the insurance company needs for documentation (ICD-10 codes, etc)