Types of Therapy

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

Cognitive-behavior therapy teaches people to change their thinking and responses even if their situations don't change. Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on the theory that an individual's thoughts can create specific emotions and reactions to situations. The therapist can employ a variety of treatment methods, such as asking patients to think differently or challenge their unhealthy thoughts. In addition, the clinician will encourage the clients to tell their wants and hypothesize their problems in achieving these goals. Then, the clinician will work to change clients' mindset with one-on-one consultations and homework assignments. This type of therapy is short-term; however, every client case is different and service delivery and length can vary from client to client.

Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) uses intervention techniques to help people with mental, social, and educational disorders engage in healthy response behavior. Behavior clinicians teach parents, teachers and others close to the client to aid in changing their response behavior. The clinician will help their clients learn life skills, transfer the skills they've learned to new situations, learn new coping skills, improve behavioral functioning, and stop behaviors that may harm themselves or others.

Psycho-educational Testing and Assessment

The psycho- educational testing and assessment procedures will be completed by a certified and licensed school psychologist in an attempt to determine if state department of Education criteria for eligibility is met for individualized educational planning and services in the school system.

Animal Assisted Interventions/ Equine Programming

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), specifically when using horses, is the practice of incorporating horses experientially for mental and behavioral health therapy and personal development. It is a collaborative effort between a trained mental health therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. Because of its intensity and effectiveness, it is considered a short-term, or "brief" approach.

AAI is experiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This approach has been compared to the ropes courses used by therapists, treatment facilities, and human development courses around the world.

Animal-Assisted Interaction (AAI) is beginning to be recognized as a new intervention for therapy. This type of therapeutic intervention is commonly grouped within the same alternative therapeutic treatments as dance, music, art, and poetry interventions. It is important to remember that the main difference between these alternative therapeutic interventions is that AAI uses a living, breathing, and interacting animal (Mallon, Ross, et al., 2006). AAI is not considered an evidence-based intervention at this time, but research is being conducted in order to prove the effectiveness of this type of intervention in order to potentially consider this as an evidence-based practice in the future.

The literature on AAI suggests that animals benefit humans, both directly and indirectly. Although research has increased over the past couple of decades, the existing literature is quite limited. Up to 2004 there were approximately 40 studies examining the efficacy of AAI (Nimer & Lundahl, 2007).

Behavior Services of the Mid-South has partnered with Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy in Nesbit, MS to provide equine therapy services at beautiful Panther Creek Ranch.

Play Therapy

Play therapy is to children what counseling is to adults. Play therapy utilizes play, children's natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys instead of words.

Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."

Directive Play Therapy:directive play therapy is a method that includes more structure and guidance by the therapist as children work through emotional and behavioral difficulties through play. It often contains a behavioral component and the process includes more prompting by the therapist.

Non directive/ Child Centered Play Therapy-Nondirective play therapy is a counseling method used to help children communicate their inner experiences through the use of toys and play. Nondirective play therapy, also called child-centered play therapy, is a nonpathologizing technique based on the belief that children have the internal drive to achieve wellness.


PCIT is an evidence-based treatment for young children with behavioral problems. 

The decision to whether PCIT is the most appropriate treatment for you and your child is between you and your mental health professional. 

PCIT is conducted through "coaching" sessions during which you and your child are in a playroom while the therapist is in an observation room watching you interact with your child through a one-way mirror and/or live video feed. You wear a "bug-in-the-ear" device through which the therapist provides in-the-moment coaching on skills you are learning to manage your child's behavior.

PCIT is done across two treatment phases. The first phase of treatment focuses on establishing warmth in your relationship with your child through learning and applying skills proven to help children feel calm, secure in their relationships with their parents, and good about themselves. The second phase of treatment will equip you to manage the most challenging of your child's behaviors while remaining confident, calm, and consistent in your approach to discipline. In this phase, you will learn proven strategies to help your child accept your limits, comply with your directions, respect house rules, and demonstrate appropriate behavior in public. 

With consistent attendance and homework completion, PCIT can be completed within 12-20 sessions, though treatment is not time-limited. Treatment is considered complete when you have mastered both sets of skills and rate your child's behavior within normal limits on a behavior rating scale.


Infant and Parent/ Guardian Mental Health

Infant Mental Health is becoming increasingly recognized as research clearly demonstrates the importance of early years and the impact they have throughout an individual's life. Infant Mental Health focuses on age and developmentally appropriate growth in the areas of emotional intelligence, behavior, social interaction, and physical maturation. Early intervention is important in increasing successful outcomes in the future. Infant mental health includes sleep training, potty training, feeding programs, compliance training, and social-emotional programming. Infant mental health includes direct work with the child, but also includes parent training and coaching. The parent training and coaching fall under the Parent/ Guardian Mental Health services. Parent Mental Health services are aimed at addressing the emotional and mental health needs of expecting, new, and experienced parents/ guardians. Often times mental health services are overlooked and not often prescribed to parents in need, and as a result the family unit struggles. The purpose of Parent Mental Health services are aimed at helping parents/ guardians suffering from stress of being a new caregiver that may go beyond "the baby blues." This work also includes educating family, friends and healthcare providers so that parents/ guardians can get the support they need and recover.

Integrated Behavioral Health

Integrated behavioral health care is an emerging field within the wider practice of high-quality, coordinated health care. In the broadest use of the term, “integrated behavioral health care” can describe any situation in which behavioral health and medical providers work together. Integrated Behavioral Health care programming is offered directly in the Primary Care Physicians/ Medical office. The concept is known as the "warm handoff" by which the primary care provider directly introduces the client to the behavioral health provider at the time of the client’s medical visit. The reason behind the “warm hand-off” is both to establish an initial face-to-face contact between the client and the behavioral counselor and to confer the trust and rapport the client has developed with the provider to the behavioral counselor. Many clinicians report that this face-to-face introduction helps ensure that the next appointment will be kept.


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy.  Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.  Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR therapy would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy.  Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment.  Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session.  After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision.  As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.  For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.”  Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.  The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them.  Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.

Performance Enhancement (EMDR)

EMDR has several wonderful applications. In addition to decreasing disturbance associated with trauma, it is effective in decreasing anxiety and targeting irrational or negative thinking, both of which may get in the way of performance. In addition, it can help a person to gain confidence in his or her ability to perform a task or reach a goal. EMDR works to achieve this by installing positive beliefs, and by having a person imagine doing the thing he or she is nervous to do or wants to improve in while doing bilateral stimulation. This has the effect of simultaneously decreasing the fear, anxiety, or stress associated with the task and boosting confidence.

It seems that EMDR helps the brain to think in a healthier, more adaptive way by removing blocks (such as negative self-beliefs) and helping the person to tap into his or her strengths.


Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Behavior Services of the Mid-South is committed to offering evidence-based interventions and employing trauma responsive practices.  Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a components-based model of psychotherapy that addresses the unique needs of children with PTSD symptoms, depression, behavior problems, and other difficulties related to traumatic life experiences.  This service provides supportive program for the child and the caregiver. 


The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is a school-based, group and individual intervention.  It is designed to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and behavioral problems, and to improve functioning, grades and attendance, peer and parent support, and coping skills.

CBITS has been used with students from 5th grade through 12th grade who have witnessed or experienced traumatic life events such as community and school violence, accidents and injuries, physical abuse and domestic violence, and natural and man-made disasters.

CBITS uses cognitive-behavioral techniques (e.g., psychoeducation, relaxation, social problem solving, cognitive restructuring, and exposure).


Support for Students Exposed to Trauma (SSET) is a school-based group intervention for students who have been exposed to traumatic events and are suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Designed specifically for use by teachers and school counselors, SSET is a non-clinical adaptation of the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) Program. SSET teaches many of the same cognitive and behavioral skills as CBITS, such as social problem solving, psychoeducation, and relaxation.

SSET is delivered in an easy-to-use lesson plan format that is ideal for educators. In 10 group lessons, students who participate in SSET learn a wide variety of skill-building techniques to reduce current problems with:

  • anxiety or nervousness

  • withdrawal or isolation

  • depressed mood

  • acting out in school

  • impulsive or risky behavior

SSET also helps students deal with real-life problems and stressors and increase levels of peer and parent support.

The SSET program has been evaluated for use with middle school students ages 10-14 but will likely work well with students in late elementary through early high school.

Employee Assistance Programming

In today’s complex world, balancing work-life issues is more challenging than ever before. 1 in 5 employees will face a significant personal or professional problem that will disrupt their lives and their productivity.

BSMS' employee assistance programs deliver more benefits and double the utilization of traditional EAPs. BSMS can assist your company with providing the best behavioral and mental health services to your employees....and they deserve it!!!  Call today to discuss how BSMS can set up the best EAP program for your company today!

Educational Coaching, Advocate, and Supports

Educational coaching, consulting and advocacy practice that works exclusively with families and their kid(s) with special needs to design education plans and obtain support services in public and private schools in the Memphis and surrounding areas. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and 504 consulting is provided for families of students in grades K-12 by Dr. Susan Elswick and her staff and colleagues.

Consulting, tutoring and intervention are carried out in schools, home or office, in a calm, cooperative style that encourages participation and growth. The BSMS staff incorporate self-monitoring and stress release strategies in each student’s therapeutic support plan, which can help alleviate stress from the overall school and/or family dynamic, and increase self esteem.

BSMS's goal for students is simple: Success. Whether it relates to school or home, academics or behavior, success is a good feeling. Success does not come without design. Each academic intervention program is designed specifically to fit the needs and learning style of your child. BSMS offers individualized plans, whether it is helping advocate in the IEP or 504 process or teaching your child replacement behaviors or attention retention techniques.