Mental Health Services

Common Threads Mental Health Clinic is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of psychologists, professional counselors, art therapists, dance therapists, and behaviorists who provide a continuum of outpatient services. We specialize in the treatment of children, adolescents, and teens with a variety of diagnoses, both in individual and small group settings.

We work on emotional regulation and navigating through life with feelings of anxiety, despair, rejection, misunderstanding, anger, rage, sadness, pain, confusion, and isolation, to name a few. Each of our clinical therapists possesses a different set of expertise, but shares a common vision and enthusiasm for the work we do. We believe that our diversity fosters dialogue and exchange of ideas, leading to an in-depth understanding of our clients. Thus, we are able to tailor treatment to each individual to promote hope and healing.

We are committed to our clients, referring them when appropriate to individuals with additional expertise, and collaborating with them in order to provide the most thorough patient evaluation and treatment possible.

Services for Children and Adolescents

Young children and adolescents can have mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges that are genuine, painful, and costly. These difficult challenges, often called “disorders,” are sources of stress, worry, and confusion for these children and their families, as well as for schools and communities.

The number of children and adolescents and their families who are affected by mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders is significant. It is estimated that as many as one in five children and adolescents may have a mental health disorder that can be identified and require treatment.

Mental health disorders in children and adolescents are caused by biology, environment, or a combination of the two. Examples of biological factors are genetics, chemical imbalances in the body, and damage to the central nervous system, such as head injuries. Many environmental factors can also adversely affect mental health, including exposure to violence, extreme stress, and the loss of an important person.

Working together, families and communities can help children and adolescents with mental disorders. A broad range of services is often necessary to meet the needs of these young individuals and their families.

Our individual and group therapeutic services for children and adolescents are often very “hands on”, and are organized in structured, supportive settings. We incorporate strength-based, fun, hands-on experiences while targeting the “hard work” and individualized goals that have been developed for each child by their parents/guardians and therapists. As always, we encourage parents to be active participates in their child’s therapy services within our center. Groups are also available for siblings—the often forgotten family members who at times can be greatly impacted by being “witness” to the challenges their brother or sister is experiencing.

Services for Teens

The teen years can be tough for both parent and child. Teenagers are under stress to be liked, do well in school, navigate through peer relationship challenges (bullying, peer pressure, making appropriate choices), get along with their family, and make important life decisions. Most of these pressures are unavoidable and worrying about them is natural. But if your teen is feeling extremely sad, hopeless, or worthless, these could be warning signs of a mental health problem.

Mental health problems for teenagers often have significant impacts on their daily lives. They can lead to school failure, loss of friends, trouble with authority, and family conflict. Some of the signs that may point to a possible problem are listed below. If you are a parent or guardian of a teenager, pay attention if your teen:

Is troubled by feeling:
  • very angry most of the time, cries a lot or overreacts to things;
  • worthless or guilty a lot;
  • anxious or worried a lot more than other young people;
  • grief for a long time after a loss or death;
  • extremely fearful, having unexplained fears or more fears than most kids;
  • constantly concerned about physical problems or appearance;
  • frightened that his or her mind is controlled, or is out of control.
Experiences big changes, for example:
  • does much worse in school;
  • loses interest in things usually enjoyed;
  • has unexplained changes in sleeping or eating habits;
  • avoids friends or family and wants to be alone all the time;
  • daydreams too much and can’t get things done;
  • feels life is too hard to handle or talks about suicide;
  • hears voices that cannot be explained.
 Is limited by:
  • poor concentration, or can’t make decisions;
  • an inability to sit still or focus attention;
  • worry about being harmed, hurting others, or about doing something “bad”;
  • the need to wash, clean things, or perform certain routines dozens of times a day;
  • thoughts that race almost too fast to follow.
  • persistent nightmares.
Behaves in ways that cause problems, for example:
  • uses alcohol or other drugs;
  • eats large amounts of food and then forces vomiting, abuses laxatives, or takes enemas to avoid weight gain;
  • continues to diet or exercise obsessively although bone-thin;.
  • often hurts other people, destroys property, or breaks the law;
  • does things that can be life threatening.

When working with teenagers, our skilled mental health clinicians develop therapeutic experiential activities and lead discussions and dialogs that focus on topics most meaningful to each teen’s treatment goals.

Parents are encouraged to be active participants in their teen’s treatment here at Common Threads. Oftentimes teens are ready to “break away” and “separate” from their parents even within therapy. When and if this happens, our clinicians work hard to bridge communication so that parents are aware of and feel connected to the treatment their teen is receiving within our center.

Our teen therapy groups are organized from a strength-based approach, and engage teens in discussions and activities that support and facilitate forward movement within each teen’s treatment goals and plans. Topics regarding peer pressure, bullying, making friends, building self esteem, learning strategies to manage anxiety, and dealing with intense emotions such as anger are often highlighted within each teen group. These therapy groups provide an opportunity for teens to relate to others through shared experiences, building self-confidence, and celebrating individuality, while increasing coping strategies that will support their success across environments.

Services for Adults

Our adult services at Common Threads focus mostly within the area of working with adult individuals having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), addressing their mental health needs as well as the mental health needs of the adult family members of individuals with ASD (parents, grandparents, caregivers, spouses, etc.). These adult individuals may or may not have additional mental health diagnoses.

Our center also offers support groups for parents, grandparents, and caregivers. Dates and times often change based on need and availability. We recommend that you call our center directly to express your need and find out what is currently available.


Types of Mental Health Therapy Services


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our feelings and behaviors are caused by our thoughts, not by external things like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this approach is that we can change the way we think to feel and act better, even if the situation does not change. Cognitive-behavioral therapists seek to learn what their clients want out of life–their goals–and then help their clients achieve those goals. The therapist’s role is to listen, teach, and encourage, while the client’s role is to express concerns, learn, and implement that learning.

Solution-Focused Therapy

Solution-focused therapy is a type of talk therapy. It focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem(s) that made them seek help. This approach does not focus on the past, but instead focuses on the present and future. The therapist uses respectful curiosity to invite the client to envision their preferred future and then therapist and client start attending to any moves toward that future, whether these are small increments or large changes. To support this, questions are asked about the client’s story, strengths, and resources, and about exceptions to the problem.

Dance/Movement Therapy

Dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process that furthers the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual. Dance/movement therapy emerged as a profession during the 1940s and is an effective treatment for people with developmental, medical, social, physical, and psychological impairments.

Dance/movement therapists are masters-level clinicians and are trained in movement observation and assessment using two systems: Laban Movement Analysis and the Kestenberg Movement Profile (created especially for use with children). They observe movement and body language in order to determine how a person is relating, expressing, and experiencing on a non-verbal level.

In a dance/movement individual or group therapy session, the dance therapist operates using four core concepts: body action, symbolism, group rhythmic activity, and the therapeutic movement relationship. When focusing on body action, or the concrete movement of the body in action, the therapist works on expanding movement repertoire and functional movement skills. Once these skills are present, the movement is able to expand to a symbolic level – i.e., the rocking and swaying motion symbolic of the soothing and nurturing that the client is consciously or unconsciously seeking. The dance/movement therapist seeks to bring this unconscious movement to a conscious and symbolic level for the mover. Next, in group rhythmic activity, group members (or individuals with a therapist) experience movement with another person – they may move at the same speed, with the same amount of intensity/weight, or with similar amounts of flow. This group movement provides a sense of belonging and of being understood as part of something larger than oneself, and can be a powerful form of connection for a child on the autism spectrum. Finally, the therapeutic movement relationship permeates all interaction between the therapist and client(s). The therapist uses kinesthetic empathy – movement mirroring and matching – to show the client not only verbally but also nonverbally that they are attuning to their emotional needs.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is an established mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.

Art therapists are masters-level clinicians who integrate the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process using models of counseling and psychotherapy. Art therapy is used with children, adolescents, adults, older adults, groups, and families to assess and treat the following: anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems and disorders; mental illness; substance abuse and other addictions; family and relationship issues; abuse and domestic violence issues; social and emotional difficulties related to disability or illness; trauma and loss; physical, cognitive, and neurological problems; and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness. Art therapy programs are found in a number of settings, including hospitals, clinics, public and community agencies, wellness centers, educational institutions, businesses, and private practices.

In an art therapy group, individuals with a core connection (e.g. mothers of children with autism) come together to engage in creative and expressive therapeutic art exercises that promote healthy interactive and introspective opportunities for each group member. Participants often become involved in each other’s images in a supportive way, which allows them to experience a shared connection, often for the first time. In addition, art therapy groups at Common Threads provide a solid framework for art-based group psychotherapy. Participants explore personal issues through a variety of art experiences. Group interactions and feedback are an important part of the therapy process. Art quickly makes visible what has been hidden or suppressed, and can often surprise even the most defensive person. The infrastructure of the group is geared toward gaining clarity and support for the feelings and awareness that arise in art-based group therapy.

Play Therapy

Play therapy is a technique that uses the child’s natural means of expression, namely play, as a therapeutic tool to assist children in coping with emotional stress or trauma. It has been used effectively with children who have the developmental level and understanding level of a typically developing two to eight year old.

Practitioners of play therapy believe that this method allows the child to manipulate the world on a smaller scale, something that cannot be done in the child’s everyday environment. By playing with specially selected materials, and with the guidance of a person who reacts in a designated manner, the child plays out their feelings, bringing these hidden emotions to the surface where they can face them and cope with them.

Why expressive therapy or play therapy over talk therapy:

Communicating emotions and needs can be an extremely difficult task for any child. When you add the challenges that accompany a mental health diagnosis to the development of a child, this task becomes often impossible. In addition, traditional “talk therapy” can be somewhat frightening and unsuccessful for young children. Developmentally, communication is more than just words spoken, and often can better be done through play and creation. In addition, expressive and play therapies provide children a chance to step away from the daunting task of verbal communication and develop new ways to share their story through art, dance, and play.

With children on the autism spectrum, in addition to bridging the communication gap between child and therapist, child and parent, or child and peer, expressive and play therapies at Common Threads focus deeply on issues that have been noted as both traditional symptoms and emerging symptoms of children with autism. More specifically, our programs deal with social and emotional unrelatedness, impaired small and large motor skills, lack of normal creativity, and sensory integration.

In group application, expressive and play therapies foster socialization in children who otherwise might find it difficult to relate. Props, music, and art media activities support a child in order to help them participate as an active group member. This ability to engage through non-verbal experiences sets expressive and play therapies apart from other forms of therapy. It creates an affirming environment for the child, giving them the ability to experience the value of belonging to a group.

Learn more about programs and services Ages 3-6, Ages 7-11, Ages 12-17, Ages 18+, School Services, Therapy Services.

Read more about insurance and fees.



... Our son made noticeable and measurable social, communication, and cognitive gains over the eight weeks of the pilot program. We were so impressed with the knowledgeable and compassionate facilitators ...

Parents of 3 Year Old Boy

Our Support …

Common Threads support children, adolescents and adults with:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Mental health challenges
  • Developmental delays
  • Sensory integration needs
  • Behavioral issues
  • Social challenges

We Understand …

We understand the challenges you face as a parent and offer a helping hand of support. If you’ve struggled with the constant demands, fully aware that you are doing all you can but still in search of that extra something to unlock your remarkable child’s full potential, you are not alone. We promise to do everything in our power to assist you in your mission to secure the best possible care. From psychological, therapeutic, and behavioral therapies to ongoing emotional support, we are here for you and we can help.

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5979 Siggelkow Road, McFarland, WI 53558 | (608) 838-8999