The services to be provided by me, Margaret Puckette CPSP, are designed to help parents restore wellbeing for themselves,parents child, and their family as a whole. The fee is US$175 per session of 90 minutes. Two sessions are recommended of approximately 2 to 4 weeks apart. Fees for sessions are to be paid upon receipt of my invoice using Venmo or PayPal. Time spent outside of sessions is not charged including, but not limited to, between-session phone calls, crisis calls, email exchanges, and most reports. Peer counseling is a health care service and is currently reimbursable by two health insurance companies, Aetna and Cigna. At this point in time, more health insurance companies are exploring this coverage because research has proven its effectiveness.
I make every effort to meet at the most convenient time for clients regardless of time of day or time zone difference. A session may include other important family members as appropriate, but not the affected child. When scheduling a session by teleconferencing, it may be important to avoid being overheard. You are required to give 24 hours notice if you need to cancel an appointment. Otherwise, you will be charged $50 for the cancelled session. Every effort is made to reschedule quickly.
Urgent or crisis calls: If there’s a need for immediate support, I encourage a call at any time regardless of time zone. If I cannot help immediately, I will respond as soon as able and at no charge. For emergent crisis which needs deescalating and prevention, a full session will be scheduled. I can provide information and guidance that helps parents stay ahead of an unstable situation and keep everyone safe.
As a Certified Parent Support Provider, I am ethically and legally bound to protect the confidentiality of our communications and any medical documents that may be provided, e.g. a psychological evaluation. I will only release information about our work to others only with your express permission or in response to a court order, which is the same practice for all mental health professionals.
There may be a situation in which I am legally obligated to breach confidentiality in order to protect you or others from harm. If a child is an imminent risk to him/herself or makes threats of imminent violence against another, I am required to take protective actions. These situations are quite rare. If such a situation is communicated, I will inform and discuss it with you before taking any action. If I have information that indicates that a child or elderly or disabled person is being abused, I must report that to the appropriate state agency.
Parent Peer Support
The services of Certified Parent Support Provider are a little different from psychotherapy, but incorporate much of the same training and experience. Like therapy and other mental health counseling, it utilizes the same knowledge of human behavior, motivation and behavioral change, and interactive counseling techniques. It is part emotional support; part education; and part wisdom and guidance. Peer support provider services have been proven to work because they support the rest of life outside the clinic.
Parent peer support does not treat mental or psychological disorders as defined by the American Psychiatric Association. It is not a substitute for psychotherapy and counseling, mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment, and you will not use it in place of recommended or prescribed mental health therapy. I cannot formally diagnose or represent the same level of professional responsibility. I may encourage you to consult licensed practitioners with behavioral and mental health expertise for yourself or your child.
The goals of a Parent Support Provider include: emotional support for parents, new techniques and skills; support for improving relationships between co-parents and siblings as needed; analysis of child and family strengths (which will inform the strategic plan for mental health); an analysis of family dynamics that may unintentionally sustain dysfunctional patterns; suggested changes in the household; and new parenting strategies for attaining family/child mental health.
What you can expect from me
- To believe in you and support your wellbeing at all times
- To encourage you to trust your intuition and judgment
- To honor your beliefs and values
- To respect your choices and decisions
- To assume you are the expert on your child, your family, and your situation
- To ask hard questions on occasion, to consider another approach
- To partner with you for brainstorming solutions and developing a strategic plan
- To be honest and straightforward and caring.
- To have your back
What I expect from you
- To set the agenda
- To be ready to invest the effort to make any changes you may need to make
- To be open to new ideas
- To be honest with yourself about things that may be holding you back
- To be willing to do some homework. After sessions, I follow up with additional resources or answers to questions that came up
- To inform me if my direction is not what you were expecting so that I can take steps to correct the problem.
You confirm that you have read these policies and agree to abide by them. As a client, you understand and agree that you are fully responsible for your choices and decisions based on work in our session, and you understand that no guarantees have been made to you as to the expected outcome. You promise that if you, your child, or your family is in therapy with a mental health professional because of your child’s condition, you will communicate to the professional that you are receiving support from a trained and certified parent peer counselor.
These have been collected from clients; parents who’ve attended my support groups; and readers of my book, “Raising Troubled Kids.” Many identifying details have been changed at a client’s request to protect their privacy.
–Son, 21, PTSD, anxiety, ADHD
“I took away a lot of valuable information and an overall sense of hope from the knowledge and the experiences Margaret shared with me. It is obvious that her wisdom is rooted in compassion, courage, and humility. I hope to one day come to a place where I can use my journey to help others as she has helped me.”
Lou and Bethany
–Son, 24, schizoaffective disorder
Lou: “Margaret embodies a rare combination of qualities. She blends the diagnostic skills of a clinician, the unconditional support of a counselor, and the practical wisdom of an experienced peer. She’s able to home in on core issues, and draws on her absolutely up-to-date information from mental health research. I am more centered and I have learned appropriate ways to support my son who deals with schizoaffective disorder. I am no longer immobilized by grief for his life truncated by mental illness. She helped me move from sheer desperation to greater equanimity. Margaret’s knowledge, compassion, and wisdom were key factors.”
Bethany: “I’m so grateful there are parents like you who give their time and wisdom to us!”
–Adoptive son, 21, PTSD, substance abuse, depression
–Daughter, 18, borderline personality disorder
“My husband and I have often remarked that an hour with Margaret is worth a year with a family therapist. She just gets it and never failed to empower us with actions that we could implement immediately. Her practical insights always gave us the hope we so desperately needed. I have recommended her to many parents and do so knowing she can help and make a real difference.”
Barbara and Phil
–Granddaughter, 14, PTSD, ADHD
“It was amazing how perceptive and intuitive Margaret was regarding our family dynamics and difficulties. She made very valuable suggestions regarding our parenting style, consistency issues and the importance of also taking care of ourselves. Her session summaries were comprehensive and invaluable for easy referral regarding all of the information from each session. Margaret is a true blessing! Not only is she a skilled therapist, she is a kind and genuinely caring person. I wish we lived in the same state because we would certainly attend her group sessions.”
–Stepdaughter, 15, PTSD, depression
“Despite years of therapy, alternative approaches, and interactions with healthcare professionals, my family was still wavering on whether or our daughter’s problem was serious, what should be done, or if anything even could be done. Margaret’s wealth of knowledge and personal experience helped change our approach and perspective. Her guidance with regard to pursuing information gathering, treatment options, and medication regimes has proven invaluable. But what is more valuable, overall, is that she confirmed that there IS a problem. Our daughter’s behavior isn’t merely bad coping skills or acting out; she has a serious mental illness that needs attention and care.”
–Daughter, 18, depression, generalized anxiety disorder
“It was so important to hear a real person on the other side who actual knew what I was going through, was competent at understanding my struggles, and understood the pain and fears of a parent whose child’s life is being turned upside down.”
–Daughter, PTSD, OCD, depression
“Rarely have I heard someone get to the heart of the matter so quickly, thoughtfully, and with such great insight. I know that meeting Margaret has inspired me to be a better mother to my children. Her ideas to cope with extreme behaviors have given me a new set of tools that I continually draw upon for the next event that may present itself. I now look at our situation with candor and the knowledge that I am not powerless.”
–Nephew, 15, PTSD, depression, ADHD, substance abuse
“I made an appointment to speak with Margaret and was very happy I did! She speaks from experience and has so much knowledge. She made see things I did not realize and since [my nephew] was so abused at a young age, I was not aware of all the emotional damage he suffered and I needed to treat him differently. She really made me see not every teen or adolescent is the same and what happens in our early childhood, really plays a role in when we get older.” I learned I had to stop the worrying and take care of myself because it was causing me so much anxiety. Margaret made it clear to me that I have to take care of me first and stay healthy.”
–Daughter, PTSD, Borderline personality disorder
“I am indescribably grateful to you. I’ve been so slammed all the time with one trauma to the next and the lawsuit. But your help put everything in perspective; I adore you and appreciate you immensely.“
“Raising Troubled Kids – Help for Parents of Children with Mental Illness or Emotional Disorders”
–Daughter 17, bipolar disorder
“As both the parent of a teenager with a mood disorder and a professional working with other “troubled kids”, I wholeheartedly endorse this beautifully written and theoretically sound book. Parents of mentally ill children are often misunderstood, maligned, and misjudged. Ms. Puckette provides practical advice, encouragement and realistic, yet hopeful glimpses into the lives of those of us who walk this difficult path. In addition to owning a copy for my personal bookshelf, I am planning to buy multiple editions to use in my clinical practice!”
–Adoptive son and daughter, PTSD
“As a parent of two children battling mental illness, I embraced this book as a fantastic tool for navigating this rocky, uncharted terrain. The biggest challenge for me, personally, has been the feelings of isolation, that no one could ever understand what I as a parent go through on a day-to-day basis. Margaret Puckette DOES. This book reads as a thoughtful, practical manual, chock full of anecdotes and insights from Margaret and others who are also surviving this journey. I keep this book by my bedside and refer to it frequently, for comfort, tools, and insight. A valuable resource!!”
–Granddaughters, 13, 15, and 19, congenital drug effects and PTSD
“Margaret has great insight into how it feels to be the parent/guardian of kids who don’t fit into the general population. As I read I would think “YES! – that’s exactly what it’s like”. I especially found it comforting to know that there are many of us out there facing these same issues, and that my family and I aren’t alone on this journey. Margaret gives good basic advice on how to make home-life better for all involved, great down-to-earth ideas, not pie-in-the-sky theories that are nearly impossible to implement in the real world.”
–Son, oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD
“As a parent of a “troubled child” I found this book very insightful. It gave and continues to give me hope along this difficult journey I am taking in raising a child that has not yet been diagnosed but displays extreme behavioral problems. Anyone who has a child, a family member or even a friend that is going through this struggle could benefit from reading this book. I feel that the more people who are aware of the problems families with troubled children face, the more helpful we can all be of each other and therefore lighten the burden on many struggling families.”