Explore below to get answers to the most common question we receive.

General Questions

Where is your office?

My office is in Rockland County, New York:

66 Pine Street, New City, NY 10956

What age ranges do you work with?

I provide child therapy (preschool through elementary school) and teen therapy (middle through high school).

Do you take insurance?

I do not accept insurance so I am considered “out-of-network.”

However, if you would like to seek reimbursement on your own, I am happy to provide a “super bill” with the necessary information.

Insurance companies are too intrusive for my liking. They want to know all of your personal information, hold the therapist to a lower standard by setting limits on their value, and require the therapist to provide a diagnosis that never disappears.

I’m not comfortable stamping a label on your child’s forehead that will stay with them throughout their life. Just because your child comes into my office does not necessarily mean they have a mental health disorder. In fact, most people come to therapy before they meet such criteria. This is called prevention, and what I promote!

When are your office hours?

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesdays: 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm

I know you have to work and need later appointments for when your child is out of school, so I reserve the afternoon and evening appointments for parents.

Do you offer online sessions?

Yes, wherever you live in the tri-state area, I offer convenient online therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home.

You can get the care your child needs without all the fuss.

What forms of payment do you accept?

I accept cash, check, credit card, and Venmo.

What is the cancellation policy?

Sessions that are not canceled within 24 hours of the scheduled appointment will be charged the full session rate. This is to preserve your time and mine.
Sad teen during therapy session, New City, NY

Questions About Therapy

What is therapy… and how will it help?

My music theory teacher once said, “The train doesn’t stop. It just keeps on moving.” I’m sure he was referring to a project we needed to complete, but I think it applies well to therapy.

You can’t revisit the past, except in your mind. Therapy allows you to ply yourself from memories that play on a loop, so you can feel at ease with your life as it moves forward.

When your child buys into the process, they get the most done. It takes time to build trust. I also need to use all my therapy “tricks” and techniques to help your child heal from the pain they’re experiencing.

The more they practice what we learn together, the quicker they will make change happen. I strive to help children understand that taking positive steps leads to being able to take more positive steps… and this is how they can reach new heights in their journey through life.

What can I expect in the first session?

Your first visit will last 90 minutes. This is where we discuss your history, and I’ll talk with you and your child about the therapy process and your goals for future sessions. We will also go over forms that I have sent you in advance.

How long do subsequent visits last?

Individual sessions last 45 minutes and occur weekly. Intermittent family sessions are scheduled for 60 minutes.

Does my really active child need to sit the whole time during sessions?

If your child is anything like my rambunctious six-year-old, I wouldn’t possibly expect them to sit the entire time. That would just be cruel.

I incorporate a lot of movement and breathing exercises, games, activities, and play. One of my favorite activities is making slime together. I love being a little silly in session with kids.

Will therapy be “all talk”?

I believe in relating to children at their level. Depending on their level of development, children communicate in many ways that might not involve traditional “talk therapy.” This includes imaginative play with puppets or dolls, playing games, drawing, or representations in sand trays. So if it means getting a little dirty or playing on the floor, if it works for your child, it works for me!

For teens, we may still do a bit of play, but therapy will take a more conversational tone. Teens tend to have a greater ability to reflect on their thoughts, consider different perspectives, and convey problem-solving skills. If your teen hides in their hood initially and refuses to talk, that’s okay, too. They will when they are ready.

Do I come into sessions with my child?

I insist you attend at least the initial session with your child. I will do a full intake, so it’s important to get a clear understanding of why you are bringing your child to see me. I often see similar challenges come up for family members, so you can share any difficulties you might be having as well.

From there, it is beneficial to attend at least parts of future sessions. You are your child’s cheerleader and role model. In sessions, you can help encourage your child when they are having difficulty finding their voice or losing momentum. By being present in sessions, you will also be aware of homework assignments that you can help your child practice. I promise, no tests, but we will have a lot of review.

How long will it take to feel better?

It depends on the child. Even though parents usually initiate therapy, it’s a choice for the child how much effort they put in and the results they get. It’s not a race to get through, but I’ll let you know if I feel like we’re stuck at any point.

If that’s the case, we’ll talk about what we can do to build momentum and continue on a positive course. That being said, you should expect to see improvement within three months.

Do you work with other treatment providers?

Yes. During your initial session, I will ask you if you have any other providers with whom you would like me to communicate. These might be physicians, psychiatrists, school counselors, school psychologists, former therapists, treatment centers, etc. If so, I will ask you to sign a “Release of Information” form so that I may speak with these providers regarding your child’s care.
Erica Smuckler, LCSW, Courageous Kids Counseling, child and teen therapist, New City, NY.

Questions About Me

What are you like?

My clients say I am very easy-going, patient, funny, relatable, and enthusiastic. I use a lot of levity and humor to help children open up to me. I pump things up to get the child excited and eager to engage in activities. To help calm down, they will also learn breathing and hypnotic techniques.

We have a lot of fun in sessions. I also like to know about my clients’ interests and use them as examples and metaphors within a conversation. I’m flexible, so if your child is into games or drawing, that works for me, too. Therapy is work, but it should also be enjoyable.

Are there snacks in your office?

I sometimes share healthy snacks with the children who visit me. It helps to make them comfortable, lets us share together, and provides rewards for all the good work they do.

If you don’t feel comfortable with this or your child has an allergy, I totally understand. I also use stickers and other small rewards.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have a ragdoll cat called Silvey. Her breed is known to be very easy-going and friendly. Silvey is like no pet I’ve ever had. She can only be described as a cross between a baby and a puppy. She’s very soft and snuggly, loves to be held, even going limp in my arms, and coos (not meows) when she wants attention. She also loves to run and will even play fetch sometimes.

Silvey occasionally likes to visit me at my office to provide much-needed affection. Please let me know ahead of time if you have allergies. I will have to share pictures to give you a sense of how cute she is.

Where do you get your puppets?

Folkmanis.com. It has a wonderful array of realistic animals and characters. We use them for all sorts of role play and open-ended play.

Children love to pretend and often don’t even realize they’re talking about their own thoughts and feelings. It’s incredible to see the progress children make when they let themselves go and engage in imaginative play.

How do I take the next step?

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, I would be happy to talk to you for a 20-minute free consultation. I can be reached by phone at (914) 348-3040, or you may send me a brief email to erica@courageouskidscounseling.com.

Want to know where to start?

In our work together, we will uncover what is missing from your child’s life, what’s holding them back in worry and despair, and what are the ways we can help them move toward a place of happiness and fulfillment.

We provide convenient online sessions.

Schedule An Appointment914-417-9605