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Posted: Apr 12, 2007, 09:24

New Perspectives


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Walnut Creek, California
David Heckenlively - Therapeutic Consultant

Heckenlively seems to have integrated the basic elements of an Educational Consultant and a Therapist, thus the title Therapeutic Consultant. Actually, his insistence on working with families looks a lot like a Family Coach also. This seems like a natural fit since all three of those professions have a great deal of overlap in the first place, and many professionals have seen their practice start with one and then find themselves gradually modifying to one of the others.

Most of his clients are in the Bay Area, but he also has many other clients throughout the country. His first step with a new client is to do a comprehensive assessment, including the adolescent's situation, opinions of adults who relate with him/her and family dynamics, along with the teen's level of cognitive, academic, emotional functioning and risk of self-harm and expected level of cooperation.

From this he develops a treatment plan, which can be either a Home Plan, or an Away Plan, or sometimes both when it is uncertain which one will best apply. He states that if possible he will make every effort "to help the teenager be more successful in the home environment."

If an Away Plan is indicated, he recommends residential programs "that match the adolescent's specific needs," based largely on personally visiting as many residential programs around the country as he can.

Whether a child is on a Home Plan, or Away Plan, Heckenlively maintains weekly educational and emotional support groups for parents, as well as actively coordinating Aftercare Groups for when the teen returns home from an Away Plan.

He states in no uncertain terms that he will not accept referral frees from the programs he works with, and follows "the Principles of Good Practice" as set forth by the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), and the Ethical Guidelines of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).


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