MILENA GARCIA CARIDI, LCSW
Sunday-Friday, including some evenings.
Call (404) 219-4828 to schedule an appointment.
$250 - Individual, Couples or Family Therapy (45-50 min.)
$375 - Discernment Counseling Sessions
$450 - Double Sessions & Intakes (90 min.-2 hrs.)
*Limited reduced-fee appointments available
MILENA GARCIA CARIDI, LCSW
Milena Garcia Caridi, LCSW, is a board-certified therapist who is also certified in the following areas: Family Therapy, Discernment Counseling, Pediatric OCD and ScreamFree Parenting. Milena holds a master's degree from Columbia University and received a certificate in family therapy with a focus on children and adolescents, after a three-year, post-master’s program at the renowned Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy. With 26 years of experience as a licensed therapist, she has worked in family therapy centers, hospitals, schools and private practice.
Milena is proud to have entered into therapeutic partnerships with individuals, couples, adolescents and children since 1993. Her focus of treatment includes: life transitions, stress, divorce, trauma, loss and mourning (death of family members, pets etc.), sexual abuse, childhood anxiety, depression, parenting issues, marital/relationship counseling, and helping couples on the brink of divorce through discernment counseling. Milena approaches treatment holistically, which includes collaborating with mind-body professionals like the clinical team at Atlanta Center for Wellness.
Milena has presented at national conferences for therapists and teaches psychoeducational workshops at local schools and churches. She is passionate about partnering with her clients to strengthen family relationships, help them through difficult life circumstances, and guide them through the beautiful, yet difficult, process of healing.
Milena provides individual, child and adolescent psychotherapy, play therapy for children, family therapy, psychoeducation, assessments, parent training, discernment counseling, and exposure and response prevention (ERP) for pediatric OCD. She assesses and writes formal psychological evaluations for adults applying for immigration visas, and facilitates workshops on parenting, marriage and abuse prevention/child safety. Milena also assists individuals and couples through faith transitions.
Milena speaks, reads and writes Spanish fluently. She is happy to work with Spanish-speaking clients of all ages. Please call 404-219-4828 to schedule an appointment.
What is Discernment Counseling?
Throughout a marriage, some couples reach a crisis point where divorce is placed on the table, often with one person “leaning in” and the other person “leaning out.” This can be very difficult, creating an environment that is full of ambivalence and confusion. Discernment counseling is a short term treatment with a maximum of 5 double sessions. It is designed to help individuals and couples choose one of three paths: try to restore their marriage to health, move towards divorce, or take a time out and decide later.
When a decision emerges, Milena helps the couple pursue the next step which is either to find professionals who can help them have a constructive divorce or to formulate a reconciliation plan to create a healthy, successful marriage.
Discernment counseling is not suitable when one spouse has made a final decision to divorce, if there is a history of domestic violence, or if there is an order of protection from the court.
What is Play Therapy?
The Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."
Simply put, child play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child – play. Milena therapeutically uses play to help clients, most often children ages 3 to 12 years, to better express their feelings and resolve their problems.
What is Exposure and Response Prevention?
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) refers to a group of similar types of therapies used by mental health therapists for treating psychological disorders, with the most important type of CBT for OCD being exposure and response prevention (ERP).
Exposure refers to exposing yourself to the thoughts, images, objects and situations that make you anxious and/or start your obsessions. Response prevention refers to making a choice not to follow through with a compulsive behavior once the anxiety or obsessions have been “triggered.” All of this is done under the guidance of a therapist at the beginning — though you will eventually learn to engage in your own ERP exercises to help manage your symptoms.
When you don’t take part in the compulsive behaviors, your anxiety will lessen over time. This natural decrease in anxiety that happens when you stay “exposed” and “prevent” the compulsive “response” is called habituation.
What is Pediatric OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain and behavior that often begins in childhood. OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected. OCD involves both obsessions and compulsions that take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities, such as school and extracurricular activities, developing friendships, and self-care. Some children show signs of emerging OCD, with obsessions limited to just one or two areas of life. Ideally it is best to catch OCD in its early stages.
Obsessions are intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that occur over and over again and feel outside of the child’s control. These obsessions are unpleasant for the child and typically cause a lot of worry, anxiety and distress.
Compulsions (also referred to as rituals) are behaviors the child feels he or she “must do” with the intention of getting rid of the upsetting feelings caused by the obsessions. A child may also believe that engaging in these compulsions will somehow prevent bad things from happening. In general, OCD is diagnosed when these obsessions and compulsions become so time-consuming that they negatively interfere with the child’s daily life. Typically, the obsessions and compulsions become gradually more severe over time until they get to this point. Treatment can be very helpful for children with OCD, allowing them to lead full and productive lives.
Pediatric OCD is best treated with a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) called exposure and response prevention, or ERP (please see above section for additional information):
- In ERP, kids learn to face their fears (exposure) without giving in to compulsions (response prevention).
- Milena is trained in ERP for pediatric OCD. She guides her clients through this process, and children will learn that they can allow the obsessions and anxiety to come and go without the need for compulsions or rituals.