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Frequently Asked Questions

Is my child too young for counseling?

We work with children as young as two years old along with their parents or other primary caregiver.

How much do your services cost?

Many of our services (including support groups) are free.  However there is a fee for counseling that is usually covered by insurance (through the state or private companies), crime victims’ compensation, offender restitution, or a grant for survivors of a recent sexual assault.

Where will my appointments be?

Counseling services are currently available at our main office in downtown Spokane as well as Deer Park, Cheney, and Cheney schools.  There are some exceptions to this that can be discussed with the intake team. In cases of emergency, services are available in the hospital or at police interview locations. 

Do I have to be Lutheran to get help? 

No.  The services of Lutheran Community Services Northwest are provided without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious belief, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, ability, military or veteran status, source of income or political affiliation.

What kind of counseling do you do?

After your first appointment, or assessment, you will work together with your counselor or your child’s counselor to develop a plan that is unique to you and your family’s needs.  We will use methods that have been researched and successfully practiced.

What are your credentials?

Every staff person and volunteer advocate has undergone a criminal background check and signed confidentiality agreements. Also, our clinicians are required to present the person seeking help with a disclosure statement that discusses their educational background, specialized training and clinical approach(es) they use to assist children and families. Our organization has certifications and credentials. Below are the various Washington State credentials possessed by our therapists (or counselors):

  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

All of the of our therapists have a masters degrees in a social services profession (social work, community counseling, psychology, etc.).

What type of insurance do you accept?

Some of our services are free. For the services that have fees, we accept:

  • Medicaid Insurance from the State
  • Private Insurances
  • Crime Victims Compensation Funds
  • Offender Restitution
  • Fee for Service
  • Sliding Fee Scale

Is Lutheran Community Services licensed to provide these services?

Lutheran Community Services Northwest is licensed and accredited through:

  • Washington State Mental Health Division
  • Council on Accreditation for Services to Children and Families
  • Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (OCVA) as Spokane County’s only Certified Sexual Assault Program (CSAP) and only Crime Victims Service Center.
  • Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP)
  • Washington Coalition of Crime Victims Advocacy (WCCVA)

My child is acting out sexually.  What should I do?

It is important not to shame or punish children who are acting out sexually. Child sexual behaviors range from those that are normal and acceptable to those that cause problems for the child and others interacting with the child. This range of behaviors is affected significantly by age. Many important questions have to be asked when assessing if a sexual incident should be considered normal or abnormal. If your child has been sexually abused or has been overexposed to adult sexuality (pornography, observing adults having sex), his/her sexual behavior is more likely to be a problem than that of a child who has not had that history. We recommend the booklet entitled Understanding Children’s Sexual Behaviors: What’s Natural and Healthy by Toni Cavanagh Johnson (2002). It helps parents and professionals assess normal versus abnormal sexual behavior in children. Below is a partial list of questions from her booklet that parents can ask when assessing a sexual behavior incident:

  1. Were the children of similar age and developmental level? (YES)
  2. Did each child agree to engage in the sexual incident? (YES)
  3. Does the child(ren) show as much interest in other areas of development (riding a bike, learning to read, playing soccer) as he/she shows in sexuality? (YES)
  4. Did the child(ren) stop the behavior when asked? (YES)
  5. Did the sexual incident involve adult sexual acts (oral sex, intercourse)? (NO)
  6. Did the child(ren) show signs of anger, fear, or anxiety after the incident? (NO)
  7. Are you correcting your child’s sexual talk and sexual play more often than you think you should have to? (NO)

If your answers match the ones in the parenthesis, the sexual incident may not be something to immediately worry about.

If your child’s behavior does not match all seven of the answers in parenthesis, you may have reason to be concerned. It is a good idea to take your child to a mental health therapist who is knowledgeable about child sexuality issues. The therapist should hold a masters degree and should be willing to list the training and practical experience he/she has had regarding child sexuality. The therapist will assess whether the sexual incident is considered to be sexual abuse. If it is, she will make a report to child welfare officials or to the police. Then the therapist will do a thorough assessment of your child’s history, current functioning, and family history. This information will help guide the therapist to assist you and your child with the behaviors that are concerning.

If you are ever uncertain about what you should do, always consult a trained therapist.