Partners in Psychosocial Care

The Next Step: Partners in Psychosocial Care was created as a Child Life practice outside of the hospital walls. Families affected by trauma and medical crises often feel lost and unsupported beyond the hospital setting. My goal is to improve the quality of life for affected families by addressing psychological needs that often go unattended.

At The Next Step, we work with a wide range of psychosocial issues for children, adolescents, adults, and their families related to chronic illness, injury, trauma, grief, and loss, assisting clients in coping with these difficult issues and facilitating the healing process. We offer a highly personalized service for both families and medical staff in a comfortable and supportive environment, and home visits are available. We also offer assistance in helping children cope with medical procedures and also assistance with those undergoing treatment or coping with another’s chronic illness.
The objective is to assist clients by increasing understanding of their situations and identifying their needs. The goal is to support them in finding their own strengths, enhancing their ability to cope, and bringing a sense of normalcy and consistency back to their everyday lives that will promote hope and healing.

Lisa A. Ciarrocca, Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) offers consultations on many issues related to these concerns. Additionally, we offer assistance in program development, parent workshops, and presentations.

Are YOU ready to take The Next Step!
Lisa A. Ciarrocca, CCLS
The Next Step:Partners in Psychosocial Care

Providing individual services for Children, Adolescents, and Families

Our services provide support to families facing serious illness, injury, or loss. We offer interventions that support our clients through their medical crisis. Families affected by trauma and medical crisis often feel lost and unsupported beyond the hospital setting. Our practice was created to assist those undergoing treatment who need assistance in coping with chronic, long term illness, trauma, or loss. Assisting clients by increasing understanding of their situations and identifying needs, clients are supported in finding their own strengths, increasing ability to cope, and helping to bring a sense of normalcy and consistency back to their everyday lives that promotes hope and healing. We offer our services to both families and medical staff and provide workshops for families and professionals on working with children under going the stresses of serious illness, trauma, or loss. We also offer assistance in helping children cope with medical procedures and doctor or dental appointments.

Without the assistance of a professional who understands their unique perspective, children and adolescents of all ages may experience emotions such as fear, shame, confusion and loneliness, which can inhibit their natural development, and have lasting negative effects on their wellbeing. This can be said for adults who are dealing with these issues as well. Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children, adolescents, and families overcome life’s most challenging events.


Anxiety & Fear

Children today confront a wide variety of stressful and potentially traumatic events that may overwhelm their natural ability to cope and heal. Difficult or unexpected experiences such as, chronic illness, hospitalization, the death of a loved one, trauma, or natural disasters are upsetting for everyone involved. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable, and parents, or other responsible adults, may feel unsure of their ability to help children to successfully understand and manage these experiences. In addition, assistance in Treatment specialization includes, but is not limited to anxiety or fears related to illness, Palliative care, and children of adults dealing with a chronic or terminal illness. Visits, Preparing for visiting a funeral home, and Reiki Healing.

Parenting Support

We support Patient/Family Centered Care, advocating for the families wishes when options are available. We support the family by providing information and support through medical issues, grief & loss, and sibling support related to illness, injury, trauma and loss. We also support the child, adolescent or family with palliative care or hospice visit related to a family member. In our practice we also can assist the family with talking to the children and adolescents regarding funeral homes.

Coping Techniques

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a Child Life Specialist as a member of a child's health care team. By understanding a child's abilities and limitations, a developmentally appropriate plan may be devised to maximize the child's comprehension and positive effects of the intervention, reducing the negative effect of treatments or events. Distraction techniques to minimize the stress, fear and pain during medical and traumatic life events. We also can accompany your child and family to a doctor's office, clinic, hospital or support and coping during well-checks, immunizations, diagnostic procedures, prolonged illness surgery or end of life situation. We tailor needs to:

  • Timing of discussions, based on life realities and developmental needs
  • Using appropriate terminology, based on developmental levels


Reiki Healing

Reiki is an energy healing that uses “hands-on” and also “hands-off” healing. This technique can assist in relieving or reducing pain and discomfort by balancing the body’s energy centers, more commonly known as the chakras. It is a natural process that supports relaxation and healing by removing blocks to the flow of energy in your body and facilitates balance and support on all levels. Because Reiki practice is balancing at every level, it can help anyone who receives a treatment or learns self-practice. If you are tired, you can feel refreshed. If you are anxious, you can feel serene. If you are distressed, you can feel comforted. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you can discover a renewed clarity and purpose. And these subjective changes come with physical changes associated with deep relaxation, such as a slower heart rate and easier breathing.

Community Programming

Services extend to schools, medical institutions, groups, and the community. Fall/Spring programs;

For pre-schools/kindergarten : Teddy Bear Clinics
Hands-On manipulation of medical instruments creates a learning experience which allows for discovery through play. In becoming familiar with the instruments of a well-care visit, the mystery and fear are minimized, making the next check-up less stressful and shorter! With the guidance of a Child Life Specialist, children can "play" doctor while having questions answered accurately, at their developmental level.
Teddy Bear Clinics can help with a doctor visit, explain a diagnosis, school reintegration or immunizations. A Child Life Specialist is available for a child, family, pre-school, classroom, church group or scout group.

For school age:
An Orientation to the hospital or doctor. This program will provide age -appropriate understanding of what it is like to go to the hospital or can be geared to a doctor visit. Through visual aids and hands on learning the group can get a better understanding of and a familiarity with what they may see if they were to be hospitalized.

Consulting Services

At The Next Step we offer consulting services based on the needs of your group. We are available to coordinate an on, or off site team building retreat for your staff or group. In addition, staff development workshops, and various presentations are available upon request for professional development. We also offer various workshops related to reducing anxiety and coping which are help year round.