Outpatient Behavioral Health Services: How To Find Balance When Working With Children At School And At Home

Outpatient services can be the perfect solution for a child suffering with mental or behavioral health issues. With outpatient behavioral health services, children can keep their normal routine while attending the session work they need. For children who are struggling at school and at home, the routine of daily life can be equally important to their treatment, alongside their work with you.

Behavioral health services are there to help children in need or who are at risk. Working with children as an outpatient behavioral health professional can be a rewarding career, as you witness the positive change you help to bring about in a child’s life—both now and as they grow into adulthood.

However, as the behavioral health professional, it is important to ensure you’re balancing time between school and home life, in order to get a full view of any issues that may arise. But what does it mean to balance time? It can seem easy to stick with a standing scheduled appointment, but it’s of the child’s best interest to have in-school and home opportunities to work with you. This way, you can see both environments to better assist your patient. Not only are you helping the family and school with your patient’s behavioral concerns, but you’re also giving the child the tools to build a successful life, not dictated by mental or behavioral health issues.

Balancing time is a key component of providing the best services possible, and here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Have specific goals.

Know what you’re looking to achieve in both school and home life. Have measurable outcomes, so you know what is working and where you need to spend more time. By knowing how you’re doing, you can make educated adjustments to the schedule based on how the child is doing and what progress you still need to make.

  1. Work well with others.

Children with disabilities often qualify for school-based services, and there will likely be several members on the IEP team. The services available at school will vary according to the child’s special needs, and you will need to work around classes, meetings, and multiple schedules. It is important to stay in communication with everyone involved, including other therapists, teachers, administrators, parents, and the child in your care. If these services are available to your patient, use these options as part of your treatment plan and work together as a team. Just like you, the school wants to see your patient succeed.

  1. Ensure a supportive home.

When you work with families to ensure a positive, supportive environment, you’re creating a strong foundation for your patient’s growth. By encouraging stability and understanding at home, you can start the process of healing for the family. But first, you must build a professional, positive relationship with the family. After all, as a behavioral health professional, you are a guest in their home. Establishing trust and a good working relationship with parents or guardians will help to enable a better balance between the work you do at school and at home.


Pathways is one of the largest national providers of accessible, outcome-based behavioral and mental health services. Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981, and is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc. We believe every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time.