Mental Health and Cerebral Palsy: What You Need to Know

When someone has a disability, oftentimes their mental health is overlooked due to the primary focus on physical health. However, mental healthcare doesn’t discriminate, and we all need a little extra support at different times of our lives, and this is where psychotherapy can be so important. At the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center (WFCPC), we want to give our patients and their families the resources they need to get the most comprehensive and holistic care possible.

Jan Moskowitz, LCSW, (pictured above) is part of the Weinberg Family CP Center social work team and provides individual psychotherapy sessions for cerebral palsy patients of all ages, and also for their caregivers. Below, she answers questions about all things psychotherapy that you need to know.

Psychotherapy and Cerebral Palsy:

Q: What is psychotherapy?
A: In general terms, it is talk therapy and a way to treat mental health. It is primarily used as a way to get out thoughts and feelings to a non-biased third party. It is not psychiatry and therefore medicine cannot be prescribed, however, at the Weinberg Family CP Center, we can work collaboratively with your psychiatrist for the most comprehensive care.

Q: Who is psychotherapy for at the Weinberg Family CP Center?
A: Anyone and everyone with Cerebral Palsy, including family members, who have the capacity to communicate and talk about their thoughts and feelings.

Q: Why is this important to our patients and their families?
A: Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. When something is not right with your physical health you go and make it better, the same needs to be done for your mental health.

Q: What types of psychotherapy do you commonly use at the Weinberg Family CP Center?
A: I personally don’t stick to one type of psychotherapy; I like to use an eclectic approach that matches the needs of my patients. A lot of times, I will pull from psychodynamic approaches that focus on unconscious thoughts and feelings, working from the past forward. I also use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with the goal of identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and replacing them with more adaptive thoughts. Family Systems theory is also helpful as it focuses on the family unit as whole and utilizes such unit as the holding space for complex interactions among its members.

Q: How is this related to CP care?
A: We all need a little extra support at different times of our lives. At the WFCPC we want to give our patients and their families the resources they need to get the most comprehensive care possible, and psychotherapy is one aspect of that.

Q: What is one thing you want to tell the community about psychotherapy?
A: I understand there is a strong stigma surrounding mental health and a goal of mine is to normalize it as much as possible. You don’t have to have a huge trauma in your life or significant issue to say I need a little more support. The goal of the WFCPC is to provide holistic care and your mind is just as important as your body.

Q: Who do you work with?
A: Currently, I work with young adults/adults with cerebral palsy and the caregivers of those patients. We are looking to expand toward providing services to children in the near future, which we are really excited about.

Q: What would be next steps?
A: I am a licensed practitioner in both the states of NY and NJ and accept many insurance plans. We know at the WFCPC physical access can be challenging, so I also offer these services via telehealth. Anyone can self-refer by contacting us on their own, and I also take referrals from any of the physicians and medical staff as well.

Interested in what the process for psychotherapy at WFCPC looks like moving forward? Click here.