Hello! My home page describes my philosophy with regard to counseling and psychotherapy,
the self-help books I have written, my teaching activities, and other information
about my practice.
My activities as an author:
I have written seven books since 1996. I believe strongly that when people understand
the reasons behind their problems and are willing to read about how to cope with
them, they will be more successful in their efforts to deal with them. Descriptions
of my books and links for ordering them are noted below.
ADHD--A Teenager’s Guide--New and Revised. (1996) This book was re-released in
a revised and updated version in 2007. It is written for teenagers with Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and contains information about diagnosis, treatment,
medication, school/learning issues, post-high school issues, and many resources.
It is available from Childswork/Childsplay (via the Guidance Group website) by calling
800-962-1141 or by ordering online. You may need to enter my last name Crist or the
title on their site. For more information on ADHD, check out my ADHD page.
When Someone You Love Abuses Alcohol or Drugs. (2003) This book is for children
and teens who have problems with family members such as parents, grandparents, or
siblings who abuse drugs or alcohol. It explains what addiction is, how it is treated,
and how to best handle your feelings as well as how to deal with the addicted relative.
As of July 2008, this title is no longer available, though you might find it used
online. If you are interested in an earlier version of this book, Alcoholics and
Families, send me $5.00 at the address listed below and I will mail you a copy. I
am hoping a new version will be published soon.
What to Do When You’re Scared & Worried. (2004). Published by Free Spirit, this
self-help guide for kids helps them understand why people have worries and fears
and how to cope with them. It also explains common anxiety disorders such as separation
anxiety. To order, call Free Spirit at 800-735-7323 or order online at
What To Do When You’re Sad & Lonely. (2004). This book helps kids who are feeling
sad or lonely. It explains why people feel sad and what you can do to make yourself
feel better. It also explains some of the common mood disorders, including depression
and bipolar disorder. A chapter for parents is included. To order, call Free Spirit
at 800-735-7323 or order online at
MAD: How To Deal With Your Anger and Get Respect. (2007). Also published by Free
Spirit, this book is for teens with anger problems. It outlines why people get angry,
how brain functioning affects anger, and provides many coping strategies for dealing
with anger. To order, call Free Spirit at 800-735-7323 or order online at
I am the Clinical Director of the Child and Family Counseling Center (CFCC) in Woodbridge,
Virginia. For more information on CFCC, click here. I work with clients of all
ages in individual, family, and couples therapy. I also conduct psychological testing,
which involves administering intelligence and personality tests to clarify a person's
diagnosis and make recommendations for treatment. As a Certified Substance Abuse
Counselor, I also work with addictive disorders in teenagers and adults.
Many people ask about my therapeutic orientation--how I think about and understand
people and what approach I use in psychotherapy. I would call myself eclectic, which
basically means I use a variety of approaches which include psychodynamic, family
systems, and cognitive-behavioral. In plain English, I do believe that we have unconscious
motivations, often based on unresolved issues we had in our families, that can prevent
us from living happily. I also believe that members of a family can influence each
other in ways that can cause problems. However, not all problems are caused by such
factors. Sometimes, it can be as simple as thinking distorted thoughts or unknowingly
reinforcing (rewarding) negative behavior that can cause problems such as depression
or oppositional behavior in children.
At times, therapy alone may not be enough to resolve a problem. For instance, some
kids and teens with ADHD may be so disruptive in their behavior that they are alienating
people and getting into frequent trouble in school. Or they may be so unfocused
that they are in danger of failing. Some people are depressed to the point that
they have significant difficulty functioning on a day to day basis. Others are so
anxious they rarely leave their homes. In such cases, psychiatric medication may
be helpful. It is generally not my first choice and I refer only when the symptoms
do not respond to therapy. I generally recommend obtaining a complete physical examination
first to rule out any underlying physical problems. Thyroid problems, for instance,
can cause depression. Once this is done, I refer to psychiatrists in the area
that I know and trust. Renee Burdett, MD, is our medical director and she is an
excellent psychiatrist. Being in the same office allows us to share information
quickly and effectively.
In working with children, I believe that parents need to be closely involved. I
usually meet privately with children for part of each session, and then include the
parent later so that the child can share the important things we discussed. Sometimes,
I will meet with the parent first, especially if the child is not an accurate reporter
of the problems that are occurring. With some children, I will meet primarily with
parent and child together. It all depends on what people are comfortable with and
what is most helpful. As children get older, their sessions tend to be more private.
I am currently an adjunct faculty member at Argosy University at their Washington,
D.C. campus. I teach in the Professional Counseling program. I have developed a
website for my students which lists clinical information as well as information for
therapists in general, including continuing education, book catalogs, and professional
organizations. For more information, check out my Counseling Resources for Therapists.
I also give workshops on numerous topics in the community, such as ADHD, Depression,
Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Anger Management, Parenting Skills, Asperger's Disorder,
Effective Discipline Strategies, Siblings, and more. For information on upcoming
talks, click here: UPCOMING TALKS. Email me for a complete list if you are interested
or would like to arrange a talk.
I am a member of the American Psychological Association, the Virginia Psychological
Association, the Northern Virginia Society of Clinical Psychologists, the National
Association for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, and the Virginia Association of
Drug and Alcohol Counselors. I abide by their ethical principles, which are available
on their websites. I am also a member of the International EMDR association, as
I am trained in EMDR. I have completed the Level 1 training, but not the Level 2.
I use EMDR as an adjunct to my clinical work, rather than focusing exclusively on
EMDR. I do not use it often.
Mental Health Links
Go to the Child and Family Counseling Center webpage for links to some helpful mental
health and other websites. Research shows that you will get more out of therapy if
you are well-informed about the nature of the problem and are willing to read up
on ways to cope.
You can also checkout my PARENTING PODCASTSpage, based on some of the parenting
lectures I give frequently to parents.
I am currently a provider for the following insurance companies: CIGNA (both HMO
and PPO), Anthem BC/BS Federal, Anthem BC/BS Virginia, and Anthem Healthkeepers.
I am a provider for Tricare Standard (CHAMPUS), but am not a Tricare Prime provider.
This means if you have Tricare Prime, you would need to pay for services in full
and file the insurance receipt I will give you to Tricare for them to reimburse you.
If you can get a referral from your PCM, they may reimburse you at a higher rate.
Due to problems with CIGNA, I am accepting a limited number of CIGNA patients.
Please note that I am not a provider for CareFirst, Magellan, United Healthcare,
MAMSI, Optimum Choice, Great West , Kaiser, or Aetna. If you have out-of-network
benefits, you may be able to get reimbursed by your insurance company, though this
does not apply to Care First. If you want to use your CareFirst insurance, contact
Psychological Life Skills and Associates at 703-490-0336.
Address: 13649 Office Place, Suite 102, Woodbridge, Virginia 22192.
Phone: (703) 670-5738, Extension 12. (My availability for new patients is updated
on my voicemail.)