The Puzzle Pieces program, she said, will be one of the first of its kind in the state. Owen said that while specific concentrations of mental health counseling exist for families and couples, addictions and substance abuse, trauma and abuse, there is counseling focus area for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Owen said she hopes the Puzzle Pieces team will be able to integrate therapists into the world of intellectual disabilities and share expertise on how to work with each of the nonprofit’s clients and their families to address their specific and unique needs.
Being a sibling to someone with an intellectual disability, Owen said she knows first-hand about experiencing these emotions, but services like this did not exist for her family when she was growing up. “There’s a lot of family dynamics that most people don’t realize, and it comes with some emotional things, like … guilt and fear and anxiety and jealousy and embarrassment and all these emotions,” she said.
She said her goal is to address the needs of the whole family and offer support for them, as well. Owen said the targeted counseling will allow families of individuals with intellectual disabilities to seek guidance and counseling on dealing with the emotions and process that comes with diagnosis, especially for siblings and families.
The nonprofit is currently accepting resumes for therapists. Puzzle Pieces will accept insurance carriers like Kentucky’s Choices and WellCare and other private insurances. Counseling services will not be limited to only Puzzle Pieces clients, but will be open to any family caring for a child or adult with a disability. “For us, it’s just conditioning that right therapist and that right team, so as soon as that gets in place, I hope before the end of the year,” she said. “I want to make sure that we’ve invested in the right therapist … to be the dynamic, comprehensive approach that we’re looking for.”
As for a time frame on when the services will become available, she said she hopes by the end of the year, but that is dependent on finding the right therapist. She said Puzzle Pieces already has a waiting list for its mental health services, with 30 families having expressed interest in the service so far.
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