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Healing Young Minds and Empowering Families Through Transformative Therapy

By: Marina Yearsovich, LPC, Clinical Manager & Counselor, PCIT Program Manager and Jaclynn Kuchta, PhD, LP, NCSP, Clinical Manager, Certified PCIT Therapist, and Certified Within Agency PCIT Trainer

Children’s mental health significantly affects their development, influencing their thoughts, feelings, and actions across every facet of their lives – at home, in school, and when forming relationships. Swiftly addressing behavioral health challenges in children is crucial – not only to improve their current well-being but also to ensure a healthy transition into adulthood. Unfortunately, nationally, 1 in 6 young children are diagnosed with a behavioral, mental, or developmental disorder, and in Georgia, a lack of early childhood mental health resources only compounds these challenges. 

At Pathways Transition Programs (PTP), we’re committed to bridging the gap between limited resources and growing demand. We focus on making mental health services accessible to low-income families across the state, with “Parent-Child Interaction Therapy” (PCIT), at the heart of our approach. PCIT is a transformative approach that empowers primary caregivers – parents, foster placements, teachers – to become agents of change. Under a licensed therapist’s guidance, they learn effective strategies to manage and improve their children’s mental health, reducing stress for both the child and themselves. 

Our goal is to expand PCIT by increasing the number of trained providers in Georgia. With support from partners like Amerigroup Georgia, we’ve deployed 12 new PCIT therapists to meet the growing needs of families, making a real difference. In addition to the initial 12 therapists, more clinicians employed at PTP continue to be trained in PCIT by Dr. Kuchta and Ms. Yearsovich through the Within Agency PCIT Trainer model. 

Supported by over 300 peer-reviewed studies and recognized as a gold standard for treating disruptive behaviors, the data shows that PCIT is effective. Behind those studies are families whose lives have been significantly transformed. Consider the story of grandparents who took over caregiving for their grandchild, struggling with severe behavioral challenges that led to expulsion from school. After PCIT, they noticed remarkable improvements in the child’s behavior and mental health – enough for him to return to public school and navigate first grate without further incidents, highlighting PCIT’s transformative potential.

At PTP, our commitment extends beyond changing behavior. We are equipping caregivers with the necessary tools to enhance children’s mental health and significantly improve family dynamics. Every child and their caregiver deserve the opportunity to make positive changes for a brighter, happier future and we are unwavering in our commitment to ensure every child and family that needs it has access to PCIT.

Raising awareness is a pivotal step toward transformative change, and your voice is crucial in this effort. By sharing information about PCIT with your friends, family, and neighbors, you can help open doors to life-changing therapy for families in need. These positive effects of this work extend beyond individual families, resonating throughout communities. With your help, we can continue to positively impact the lives of children in need and their dedicated caregivers, inspiring hope and creating brighter futures across Georgia.

Marina Yearsovich is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Manager and Counselor, and PCIT Program Manager for Pathways Transition Program. She currently offers a comprehensive array of assessment and therapy services for children, adolescents, adults, and families with Barrow, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Stephens and White County area residents.

Jaclynn Kuchta is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, National Certified School Psychologist, Clinical Manager, Certified PCIT Therapist, and Certified Within Agency PCIT Trainer. She currently offers a comprehensive array of assessment and therapy services for children, adolescents, adults, and families with Savannah area residents.

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