Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do to get help for a teenager who is struggling in his/her life and may have emotional or substance abuse problems?
The first step is to arrange for Potomac Pathways to do a clinical and substance abuse assessment. We have years of experience in working with teens and we are able to help even the most reluctant teens feel more comfortable with sharing information about themselves. We provide a comprehensive assessment of emotional and/or substance abuse problems, create a treatment plan, and help to arrange for an appropriate level of treatment. Potomac Pathways offers treatment that addresses needs which can appropriately be addressed with outpatient services.

How do we know if the Potomac Pathways programs would be appropriate for our son or daughter?
We provide an initial assessment to determine if the level of care that we provide is appropriate for the young person. Generally speaking, Potomac Pathways is considered to be an "intensive outpatient" level of treatment, which assumes that the client does not have severe and acute needs requiring either inpatient detox or residential treatment. We help families to determine the best next step in addressing the issues at hand.

My son/daughter is returning home from residential treatment. What kind of aftercare services do you provide?
Potomac Pathways is able to create an aftercare plan which meets the student's and the family's needs. We offer an aftercare / relapse prevention program which includes relapse prevention groups, family therapy, individual therapy, adventure therapy and random drug testing. This is the most comprehensive aftercare program available for teens in the area.

What ages of young people do you work with?
We provide outpatient therapeutic services for teens and young adults of all ages, including individual and family therapy, assessments and treatment planning. Our Aftercare program is for teens and young adults of all ages who are returning home from residential treatment programs. Our Intensive Outpatient Program is for teens and young adults. Same thing for the DBT Intensive Program-- teens and young adults.

What is the difference between the two DBT levels of care?
The DBT Intensive Outpatient Program meets more frequently and is a more intensive level of care than the DBT Aftercare program. Often, young people who have successfully completed the intensive outpatient program will continue on into the Aftercare program, for continuing but less intensive support. However, sometimes young people who may only require the less intensive Aftercare program can enter directly into that program. For example, young people who are returning home from residential treatment may be suitable to enter into the Aftercare program directly. or a young person living at home whose issues are comparatively mild.
Can I use my health insurance to cover any enrollment costs?
Most of our families are now able to get the cost of our clinical services covered by their insurance. Potomac Pathways is out-of-network with most plans, however, nearly all of our clients this past year have had appropriate out-of-network behavioral health benefits. We have an excellent insurance billing company now working for us. They assist us with the process of rapidly checking benefits, authorizing treatment services, and re-authorizing services as needed. This information applies only to clients who are fully enrolled in our outpatient programs.

Are the programs at Potomac Pathways co-ed?
Yes, although, because of the clinical issues addressed, the majority of our clients in the First Step intensive outpatient program are boys. The majority of clients in the DBT Intensive program are girls. We do balance out the gender ratio by adding female young adult peer mentors to each of our groups. Girls in our program have the option of working with one of our female therapists.

Is it possible to attend some of the intensive outpatient program but not all of it?
Generally speaking, for the intensive outpatient treatment program in particular, clients are expected to attend all scheduled groups and events. We recognize that it's a major commitment on the part of teens and their parents. For teens whose issues are severe enough to warrant this level of care, the frequency of groups and activities over time, and the teen's engagement, have been demonstrated in clinical research to result in improvement of symptoms. The intensive outpatient program tapers off after the four months of the program, for clients who continue on to the aftercare / relapse prevention group. Aftercare clients attend 3 hours of groups per week vs. 7.5 hours/week in the intensive outpatient program. The number of hours in attendance meets the requirements of Maryland state law for licensed programs (Potomac Pathways is a licensed substance abuse treatment program in Maryland).

We need something conveniently located...
We used to be located way up in Darnestown, MD. But we are now located in MacArthur Plaza, on the corner of MacArthur Blvd. and Seven Locks Rd. in Cabin John, MD. Much closer to DC, northern VA, and most of our client families in Montgomery County closer to DC. We will, however, continue to run the weekend outdoor events out of our Darnestown location.

What about students who struggle with learning differences?
We recognize the important role that "learning differences" play in affecting a student's overall well-being. We are equipped to do a preliminary assessment of students' learning differences and to "demystify" students and families concerning the student's "neurodevelopmental" strengths and areas requiring strengthening. We can prepare a plan, to address the student's educational needs. We often work closely with our students' school and teachers, and we can even provide homework support here at Potomac Pathways for students with ADHD and learning differences.