We adhere to empirically supported treatment. This includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with an emphasis on exposure response prevention (ERP), Social Skills Training, Behavioral Rehearsal and Executive Functioning strategies. Research demonstrates that these treatment modalities renders the most adventageous results such that individuals demonstrate success and maintenance of positive gains.
Dr. Merricks' specializes in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, Specific Phobias, Selective Mutism, Trichotillomania (hair-pulling), Excoriation (skin-picking), Tic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Depression.
Dr. Crooms' specializes in the assessment of Neruodevelopmental disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities. One unique aspect of treatment available by Dr. Crooms is her availability to participate in your child's IEP or 504 Accommodation Plan meetings, conduct on site Functional Behavioral Assessments and Education Consultations.
A ninety minute comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is completed upon the first meeting. This includes obtaining information related to your medical, psychological, psychiatric, biological, social, educational/work, and family history. It also includes the provision of psychological assessments that assist in differentiating diagnostic criteria as well as providing baseline scores before beginning treatment. This allows for the best determination of evidence-based practices for therapy. The initial assessment also incorporates education on treatment utility and research practices to provide clarity to you and those involved in your treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Sessions
Services are comprised of traditional CBT therapy on an as needed schedule (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, etc.). Frequency and duration of sessions is determined based on symptom presentation, severity, and impairment in daily functioning. After completion of an intake session, we will provide a recommendation for treatment frequency. Sessions are designed to educate and empower the individual, family members, and significant others on the nature of the disorder and the utility in this theoretical treatment approach. CBT is a solution-focused, short-term therapy meant to provide you with the necessary skills to obtain improvements and maintain with limited support, by providing you with a comprehensive understanding of how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors impact daily living. One unique difference between our provider and others is the high level of parental involvement. Research demonstrates that children and adolescents obtain positive gains and maintain benefits longer when parents are active participants. As such, parents are encouraged to be active participants in your child's sessions as frequently as possible.
Comprehensive evaluations include a full battery of assessments to identify Neurodevelopmental disorders including; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, and Intellectual Disabilities. Each testing appointment, depending on testing concern, lasts approximately five hours. For families who are seeking re-evaluations, abbreviated test batteries are also available and utilized at my discretion based on previous testing data. Mood Disorders, Personality Assessment, and Disruptive Behavior Disorders are also offered. School Collaboration is a major goal for all evaluations. For this reason, we offer parents a school component as part of the evaluation process, in which Dr. Crooms will travel to your child's school to complete a classroom observation. This also includes conducting blind classroom observations and teacher interview(s).
Psychoeducational Evaluations and Independent Educational Evaluations are offered for both school districts and parents. This includes attending Multi-Disciplinary Team Meetings and Staffings, depending on the testing concern. I work with both parents and schools to promote evidence based decision making for each patient’s academic program. I also offer parent support and IEP review in order to navigate and understand the Exceptional Student Education program. Another service also offered is Intervention Development for academic and behavioral deficits. For behavioral concerns, schools can contract my services to conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment.
OCD Support Group
If you are an individual with OCD age 18 or older OR the parent of a child with OCD and/or anxiety, this group may be for you. We meet on the second Tuesday of every month to provide support, coping skills and tools for gaining insight into dealing with OCD within a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) model. The group is led by Dr. Merricks and co-led by Ms. Kathy Wetzler. For more information, please contact Dr. Merricks directly or Ms. Kathy Wetzler by phone (727) 228-2388 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If interested in attending, please reach out to reserve your spot, as there is limited availability. We hope to have you join us soon!
Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics
CBIT is a behavioral technique used to reduce the severity of tics. This entails training on increasing your awareness of the urge to tic, awareness of the tics themselves, training on how to compete with the urge to tic, and making changes throughout the day which may decrease the urge or frequency of the tics. CBIT training has been proven effective for addressing tics and Tourettes, not as a cure, but as a behavioral management strategy. CBIT therapy is typically comprised of eight to ten sessions wherein you will learn how to better manage your tics.
Raising a child can be difficult and you are not meant to understand all nuances without support you may need. Parent training sessions provide a forum to discuss your child's difficulties without requiring their presence. Parent training sessions are best used for education on the nature of the disorder your child is coping with, development and implementation of behavior modification plans, and the provision of educational and supportive tools for you to best help your child in their time of need. Parent training sessions are supplemental to individual CBT sessions.
We are available for a complimentary phone consultation to discuss you or your child's needs for treatment. Phone consultations allow for an open discussion regarding treatment needs and symptom presentation.