McGinnis Behavioral
Making Strong Families Stronger
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Clientele

What kinds of clients do you take?

McGinnis Behavioral is dedicated to optimizing family life and therefore serves children, families, and couples who remain committed to the relationship.

The average client family tends to be a good but frustrated family with two children in elementary or middle school, at least one of whom is refusing bedtime, terrible to wake and get going in the morning, not doing his or her best in school, and struggling with the homework routine. Perhaps this child has already been given a diagnosis of ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder and medication has either been rejected by the parents or failed to work as hoped. The marriage might be increasingly unsatisfying as well given tension from not agreeing on discipline or treatment approach.

It is always hoped that families will seek services as a preventative, right at the first signs of concern to get things on the right track quickly when easier to accomplish, or otherwise to discover that their concerns are not as bad as they thought they might be. Couples wanting to fine-tune their relationship and the parents of a four year old who is a little too shy at school are examples.

Of course, more complex cases are also welcomed including those who have not found success elsewhere. Dr. McGinnis loves the difficult cases no one else can quite figure out!

We expertly handle the following concerns, and more: anxiety, fears, phobias, school avoidance, selective mutism, ADHD, oppositional behavior, anger, defiance, aggression, gaming and electronic device addiction, lying, sleep and bedtime problems, problematic morning routine, depression, bereavement, coping, problem peer socialization, sibling conflict, mild autism spectrum disorder, academic underachievement and learning challenges, school misbehavior, problematic homework routine, habits and tics, picky eating and problematic mealtimes, bedwetting (enuresis), soiling (encopresis), and post-separation co-parenting.

We also train nannies and babysitters, allowing you peace of mind when you are away from your children.

What age Children do you Work With?

Families with children ages 1 to 18 are seen at McGinnis Behavioral. The concerns of families with infants and toddlers typically include sleeping, feeding, crying, and fussing, while the concerns of those with older children run the gamut as listed above.

For what clients might McGinnis Behavioral NOT be the best choice?

No practice is best for every client or concern.

While many mental health practices and services focus on more severe problems and presentations, McGinnis Behavioral is intentionally focused on prevention and helping families get back on course before those problems become more severe and intractable. Our services also focus on the family as a unit, not individual members of the family in isolation, and are not geared to be available in case of emergency.

McGinnis Behavioral therefore generally does not accept cases involving suicidality, substance abuse, anorexia and bulimia, personality disorders, adults seeking therapy for themselves, and families in the midst of divorce and legal proceedings.

We also do not take cases involving moderate to severe autism spectrum disorders, as more appropriate and effective services for these individuals will be obtained from a behavior analyst under a different service delivery model; families are urged to contact their local Center for Autism and Related Disorders/Disabilities (like FAU-CARD in south Florida) for more information and guidance.

Do you serve those in states other than florida via telehealth?

Yes. Dr. McGinnis is a licensed psychologist in Florida and Delaware, so residents of these states may access his services anytime as long as the client is not outside of Florida or Delaware at the moment services are rendered. 

Additionally, many other states allow a certain amount of services per year by an out-of-state licensed psychologist, and laws regarding telehealth services are changing rapidly in favor of availability. If you are a resident of a state other than Florida or Delaware and desire services, McGinnis Behavioral will check with your state's board of psychology as to whether our services may be offered.

Do you serve Spanish-speaking families?

Regrettably, the only language Dr. McGinnis has mastered is English and as such he is unable to serve families whose primary language is anything other than English. 


Fees

What are your fees?

Our fees reflect all that contributes to the effectiveness, efficiency, durability, convenience, and responsiveness of our services as well as to the costs of running the practice, all geared to benefit your family.

Our fees* for in-office and telehealth consultation services range from $199 to $299 per service unit depending upon preferred time slot, with between-appointment support included.** You may also opt for in-home services (within certain geographical restrictions) at additional cost. Each service unit corresponds with about an hour of time.

  • $199 for midday appointments, in-office or via telehealth

  • $239 for early morning and late afternoon appointments, in-office or via telehealth

  • $299 for evening and weekend appointments, in-office or via telehealth

  • plus $199 for off-site (e.g., home or school) appointments (within certain geographical restrictions)

Dr. McGinnis is a participating provider with Cigna and maintains a number of time slots per week for those choosing to access their insurance benefits. Cigna will very likely cover telehealth appointments like in-person appointments. If you have Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, or another commercial insurance policy, you may file out-of-network on your own to seek partial reimbursement; please check your policy for more information as well as our Current Clients page. 

Please note that because McGinnis Behavioral is a practice geared for your family and not for your insurance company, your decision to access your insurance benefits limits your options as well as your confidentiality and may prolong our work. You may exercise your right to opt out of filing with insurance.

Lower fees can be found. However, a typical course of therapy at McGinnis Behavioral tends to be much shorter than commonly found elsewhere and so the overall cost of therapy may not ultimately be more expensive than other options.

* Fees subject to change.

** Between-appointment support is a value-added feature offered at no additional cost for non-insurance clients, and representing an option at additional cost for clients choosing to access their insurance benefits.

Do you offer fee discounts?

Our fee schedule is arranged with airline seating in mind. Lower-demand time slots are discounted almost 20% (a savings of $40) while evening and weekend appointments as well as those requiring Dr. McGinnis to travel come with premium pricing.

Do you offer payment plans?

McGinnis Behavioral, like most businesses, expects full payment at the time of service. We, however, accept credit cards in the event you prefer to pay a portion of your balance at a time.

How can I save money?

A special page of our site is dedicated to this question. Click below.


Records

How can I obtain a copy of my family’s records?

McGinnis Behavioral maintains its own clients’ charts as well as those of clients of McGinnis Psychology Group in Fort Myers, Florida, seen from 2004 until 2013.

The records of clients seen by Dr. McGinnis at Boys Town in West Palm Beach, Florida, and at Palm Beach Pediatrics in Loxahatchee and Boynton Beach, Florida, from 2013 to 2018 are maintained by Boys Town South Florida. Their phone number is (561) 612-6000.

To request records maintained by McGinnis Behavioral, simply scroll down to the bottom section of this page and complete the contact form.


Approach

What is Dr. McGinnis’s Theoretical Orientation?

Dr. McGinnis is a behavioral psychologist with training consistent with the scientist-practitioner model. This means that his work is informed and guided by behavioral science rather than by untested psychological theory or fad movements in mental health.

How effective are your services?

At McGinnis Behavioral, enormous care is taken to ensure families receive among the highest-quality services available anywhere.

This has required a thorough review of the relevant scientific literature and frequently revisiting the literature to keep current on new findings as well as contributing to the literature. Informed and guided by a well-established science of learning and behavior known as behavior analysis in which he is board certified, Dr. McGinnis' Principle-Driven Family Coaching™ model, the foundation of his services, represents a culmination of these efforts.

McGinnis Behavioral is, for example, known for working more with parents than with children to help solve problems of childhood. This approach is based on decades of research on what is known as behavioral parent training.

Representative seminal writings in that area include Wahler and colleagues (1965) [Mothers as behavior therapists for their own children. Behavior Research and Therapy, 3, 113-124], Hanf (1970) [Shaping mothers to shape their children’s behavior. Portland: University of Oregon Medical School], and Patterson and colleagues (1975) [A social learning approach to family intervention: Families with aggressive children (Vol. 1). Eugene, OR: Castalia].

With time this approach has been further developed and refined as reflected in, for example, Forehand and Long (1988) [Outpatient treatment of the acting out child: Procedures, long term follow-up data, and clinical problems. Advances in Behavior Research and Therapy, 10, 129-177], Lawton and Sanders (1994) [Designing effective behavioral family interventions for stepfamilies. Clinical Psychology Review, 14, 463-496], and Allen and Warzak (2000) [The problem of parental nonadherence in clinical behavior analysis: Effective treatment is not enough. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 33, 373-391].

Dr. McGinnis and colleagues in Nebraska and Florida have further extended this literature as reflected, for example, in Nelson, Van Dyk, McGinnis, Nguyen, and Long (2016) [Brief sleep intervention to enhance behavioral parent training for noncompliance: Preliminary findings from a practice-based study. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 4, 176-187] and Kidwell, McGinnis, Nguyen, Arcidiacono, and Nelson (2018) [A pilot study examining the effectiveness of brief sleep treatment to improve children’s emotional and behavioral functioning. Children’s Health Care, DOI: 10.1080/02739615.2018.1540306].

Their 2018 study showed, for example, how a carefully sequenced modular behavioral treatment approach can powerfully improve children’s social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. In this case, 100% of their sample was normalized, up from 44.4% at the start of services, as informed by parent ratings on a normative measure of global functioning (this study looked at all non-ASD cases ages 6 to 11 referred to an outpatient behavioral health clinic for emotional and/or behavioral concerns including ADHD, oppositional/defiant, and anxiety over a two year period who also demonstrated suboptimal sleep; sleep was usually not a referral concern, however). This study employed the very same treatment approach used every day at McGinnis Behavioral.

Kidwell, McGinnis et al. (2018)

Kidwell, McGinnis et al. (2018)

Such normalization rates are higher than for many other evidence-based treatment packages and achieved in a fraction of the time. For example, “the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with [ADHD] is the largest randomized controlled trial for ADHD treatment and produced a normalization rate at the 14-month endpoint of just 34% for behavioral treatment, 56% for stimulants…, and 25% for typical community treatment” (Kidwell, McGinnis et al., 2018, pp. 1-2). Conversely, the average length of treatment in the Kidwell, McGinnis et al. (2018) study was only 8 sessions.

Dr. McGinnis keeps close tabs on the ongoing effectiveness of his approach and procedures with each family by collecting data, allowing him to correct course as needed. The entire approach therefore is largely self-correcting, bringing success to the vast majority of families he has been fortunate to meet. 

McGinnis Behavioral offers telehealth services as well as in-person appointments. Telehealth itself has been studied and found to be as effective as in-person psychological services for many clinical concerns. 

Is behavior analysis the same thing as behavior modification?

Behavior modification was the in-thing in educational and psychological circles in the 1970s and 1980s and was primarily concerned with the question of what consequences might work best to motivate children to do what they should and to stop doing what they shouldn’t.

Behavior analysis, alternatively, is much broader and more sophisticated than that.

Behavior analysis is a branch of the natural sciences dealing with how we learn from and adapt to our world. It is the science of predicting and influencing behavior via understanding and engaging lawful relationships between behavior and context.

This branch of science has been in development for about a century and since about the 1990s its application to real world problems has proven effective and particularly invaluable for children with autism spectrum disorders.

Behavioral pediatrics is an area of practice deeply influenced by behavior analysis and now places much more emphasis on prevention of and teaching to problem behavior than waiting until it occurs and then essentially using coercive techniques to consequate it. We’ve fortunately discovered that not all problems of childhood are motivational in nature.

As Dr. McGinnis likes to say, behavior analysis is a toolbox of engineering principles to be effectively applied to solve problems of everyday life for good families.

For applied practitioners, the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential recognizes competence in this science. Dr. McGinnis was one of the first certificants worldwide and has served on multiple occasions as a subject matter expert for the certifying board. 

For more information on behavior analysis, please click the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) links below.

Isn't ABA for kids with autism spectrum disorders?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is considered the gold standard approach for children with autism spectrum disorders, and that is only one application of the science. McGinnis Behavioral's use of the science to solve problems of everyday families represents another application.

What is the Principle-Driven Family Coaching model?

Dr. McGinnis’ Principle-Driven Family Coaching™ model is the result of two decades of clinical research and practice, bringing together science-based behavioral interventions, strategic sequencing of those procedures, the problem-solving utility of behavior analysis, humility from being a dad himself, and a good dose of humor and lightheartedness.

There are certain fundamental principles in life that, when followed, tend to produce the best outcomes, and Dr. McGinnis has developed a system that leverages these principles and tends to reliably produce nice results for families with the least amount of time and effort on everyone’s part.

Do You Diagnose? What does diagnosis in mental health mean? Isn't it just a label?

Diagnosis of physical ailments like the flu, diabetes, or cancer is done via objective medical tests like nasal swab, blood testing, and imagining studies. Conversely, all conditions diagnosed by mental health clinicians (i.e., those listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or "DSM") lack biological markers and may only be subjectively diagnosed via observation and interview. No medical tests exist to confirm or reject a DSM condition. That's why they are in the DSM.

This is because mental health uses the term "diagnosis" metaphorically. Diagnoses in mental health (e.g., ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Learning Disorder, Trichotillomania, and many, many others) simply label, but do not explain, the listed symptoms of a diagnosis or disorder like medical diagnoses do. That is, diagnosis in mental health is only an exercise in profiling and categorizing, not in understanding more about the client and his or her problems or explaining why the symptoms exist. The DSM itself actually says this* but few medical and mental health practitioners seem aware of it perhaps as a function of their training programs.

Thus, "symptoms" in mental health aren't usually symptoms of an underlying organic disease but simply behaviors and complaints that, together, predict or reflect suffering and qualify an individual for a particular classification label. To assert otherwise would be to risk committing logical fallacies known as circularity and reification.

Perhaps the only exception to this perspective Dr. McGinnis would grant is for autism spectrum disorders. They remain just a label at present but he strongly suspects the underlying genetic contributions will one day be discovered. The mutation of a gene that causes Rett's Disorder, for example - methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) on the X chromosome at site Xq28 - was discovered in 1999, and as such Rett's is no longer listed in the DSM. It had been listed under the category that included Autistic Disorder.

It should be noted that there are multiple diagnostic approaches in behavioral health, not just one. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM diagnostic system, initially developed in the early 1950s to simply improve agreement across diagnosticians, was finally adopted by most mental health practitioners in the U.S. when it was linked to insurance reimbursement. Dr. McGinnis is trained in the traditional DSM system but he greatly prefers whole-case formulation and functional diagnosis with an emphasis on identifying maintaining contextual factors and new skills to teach.

As Dr. McGinnis and others have shown for decades, solving problems and changing lives for the better do not require a label.

There are, however, times traditional DSM diagnosis is helpful and in those cases McGinnis Behavioral indeed renders diagnoses as indicated. Examples include sharing a diagnosis with your insurance company to access benefits, or with your child's school to inform educational planning. Also, pediatricians often desire a diagnosis on record (or, much more importantly, rule-outs of other diagnoses) before prescribing medication.

*For more information, see DSM-5 pp. xli, 19, and 25, as well as the following link.


Process

How long does therapy take?

Each family brings a unique mix of strengths, concerns, goals, and history with them, and so the complexity of the case, age of the child, length of time the problem has existed, parents’ work schedules, how committed each family is to following through on recommended procedures, and so on, impact how long a successful course of therapy will take.

That said, it is possible, given research findings, clinical experience, and model employed, to estimate about how long it may take to successfully address each specific concern during the active treatment phase of consultation. 

Here are some examples, and of course, results may vary. 

  • Bedtime and sleep problems (without medical involvement): 1-2 appointments

  • Noncompliance and defiance: 4-5 appointments

  • Homework routine: 1 appointment

  • Tics and habits (e.g., eye blinking, hair pulling, thumb sucking, nail biting): 1 appointment

  • Encopresis: 1-2 appointments

  • Anxiety, fears, and panic attacks: 1-3 appointments

  • Marital tension within a still-committed relationship: 1-3 appointments

McGinnis Behavioral’s approach involves early goal setting, structured modular treatment sequencing, and progress tracking with carefully faded followup scheduling, all geared to move from Point A to Point B as efficiently as possible with the least amount of effort and cost.

Does my spouse need to attend the initial appointment?

While it is preferred that both parents attend our first session, we can certainly get started with just one parent!

Will you work directly with my child?

Depending upon a number of considerations we may decide on a course of child counseling as part of a larger strategy involving the entire family. Individual counseling may not be recommended or needed, however, based upon the nature of the referral concerns and other factors like your child's age and motivation for change.

Generally, our services engage parents more than their children, for we prefer to work as efficiently as possible, providing parents with what they need to serve as their children’s own therapist – this way, therapy occurs every day and parents own the tools.

How often are our appointments?

Great care is taken in every case to optimize our effectiveness, efficiency, and durability of success, and our scheduling of appointments reflects and influences this.

Services usually begin with two appointments within a week and then are faded to once per week or two, and eventually faded to once a month or two based upon our progress.

Do you offer evening and weekend appointments?

Yes. McGinnis Behavioral strives to meet the needs of its valued families including the timing of our appointments. 

Will you work with my child's teacher and school?

McGinnis Behavioral is committed to doing whatever it takes to solve the problem and sometimes that requires contacting, or, where invited or welcomed, visiting the child’s school to conduct an observation, problem solve with the teacher, or offer onsite training for school staff.

We also are happy to directly assist with educational planning including 504 Plan and IEP development as requested. Dr. McGinnis is highly knowledgeable with respect to effective educational planning for children with special needs and strives to be as helpful as possible to all parties when a child is not finding success in the school setting.

Will you collaborate with my child's physician?

McGinnis Behavioral holds that active collaboration among parents and doctors – your child’s “team” – yields the best outcomes and as such we greatly value and enjoy such collaboration.

In fact, there are many concerns traditionally considered to be psychological in nature that may have an underlying medical component, like, for example, hypothyroidism in cases of depression or a scratched cornea in cases of eye tics.

And there are certain situations requiring ongoing medication management as an adjunct to family therapy. Collaboration can be the key to success for children and families.

McGinnis Behavioral practices what is known as behavioral pediatrics, or the flipside of the coin from the medical care received from pediatricians. Primary care practitioners generally highly value our collaboration as an adjunct to children’s medical care, given behavioral components to many medical concerns such as establishing good toileting habits in cases of chronic constipation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) recommend parent and teacher-delivered "behavior therapy". Is this something you offer? 

Yes. Behavioral parent training (also fully adaptable for teacher/para training and support) is a main feature of our approach. 

For more information, see another Q+A entry above, "How Effective Are Your Services?" as well as the following links.

Does Dr. McGinnis prescribe medication?

Medication is prescribed by physicians like pediatricians and psychiatrists. Dr. McGinnis is a psychologist and not a physician, so he does not prescribe medication.

Acknowledging that medication is needed in some cases, Dr. McGinnis asserts that medication should seldom ever be used without behavior therapy, and he strives to offer services that can make medication unnecessary.

Do you offer EMDR?

EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a popular treatment that enjoys some empirical validation as well as a cult-like reverence demonstrated by many practitioners.

However, research shows that EMDR offers no benefit over long-established behavioral treatments. Moving one's eyes around adds nothing to the therapeutic effectiveness of exposure techniques. "What is effective in EMDR is not new, and what is new is not effective," it’s been said. 

McGinnis Behavioral is an intentionally essentialist practice, meaning that all needless assessment and treatment components are stripped away in order to offer the most straightforward and efficient treatment possible. So while exposure techniques are offered to our clients, EMDR is not.

To learn more, click on the links below.

Do you offer neurofeedback?

Like EMDR, neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback and brain training, represents yet another gadgety treatment in the world of mental health. It involves measuring brainwaves while the client performs certain tasks, and the approach allegedly helps with all sorts of problems. A quick internet search will find lots of articles on its effectiveness.

However, researchers taking a closer, more careful look at neurofeedback have found methodological flaws, placebo effects, and logical fallacy to be responsible for the positive findings reported. 

For example, Cortese and colleagues' (2016) meta-analysis including over 500 children with ADHD concluded, “Evidence from well-controlled trials ... currently fails to support neurofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD.”

Dr. McGinnis therefore does not offer this treatment to his clients.

For more information, the following link may be of interest. The article is from 2013 but it has been updated with links to more recent research, including the Cortese et al. (2016) study.

Can you offer a letter allowing me to have an emotional support animal on a flight or within a rental unit? 

McGinnis Behavioral does not offer such letters.

Do you Offer comprehensive psychological or neuropsychological evaluations?

A comprehensive psychological or neuropsychological evaluation can be very helpful or downright critical in certain cases. In many if not most cases, however, it is wholly unnecessary.

McGinnis Behavioral is focused not on testing but on overall case conceptualization and ultimately effective, efficient, and durable treatment, and we’ve generally found success to not require the time and expense of psychological testing.

When success does require testing, however, we are happy to refer to and collaborate with trusted colleagues who offer such services.

Do you blame parents for their children's misbehavior?

Over thousands of families over more than 20 years of full-time clinical experience, Dr. McGinnis has only met good families who appropriately sought his help. Good parents are the ones who seek help when needed, after all.

Whereas some behavioral health practitioners regrettably tend to see parents as the problem, McGinnis Behavioral sees parents as the solution, meeting families where they are and cheerfully helping them move to where they want to be. Management styles, for example, may need some readjusting depending upon the child's particular temperament and life experiences. It's not about what's right or wrong or good or bad as much as it is about what's more effective.

Very little time is spent talking about the past. Instead, with an eye to the future we want, it’s all about the present and what we do within it.


 
 

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