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MKPlus Behavioral Health & Therapy: Providing a collaborative, compassionate approach to treating the whole child

by June Portnoy

MKPlus Behavioral Health & Therapy stems from the vision of local pediatrician Dr. Gerard Margiotti, owner of Margiotti and Kroll Pediatrics, PC who wanted to be more comprehensive tending to his patient’s needs.

While his pediatric practice specializes in physical and primary health, his goal was to focus on the whole child, which often includes behavioral health treatment.

As a result, in 2004 he welcomed Dr. Christine Trainer Haas, a licensed psychologist, to this pediatric practice. Although she initially saw only children from this practice, Dr. Margiotti ultimately extended her service to anyone in the community and beyond who needed her help.

Dr. Margiotti’s initial concept of establishing a collaborative practice has evolved into MKPlus, located at 31 Cambridge Lane A, in Newtown.

It is the only practice in Bucks County that includes seven behavioral health providers, including Dr. Haas; two registered dietician nutritionists; a licensed physical therapist; a speech therapist; and even a lactation consultant for new moms, all in one location.

MKPlus, a subsidiary of Margiotti & Kroll, recognizes that family health goes beyond the primary care setting.

Whether your child suffers from depression, anxiety, peer and relationship issues, parent-child conflicts, grief or loss, body image concerns, disrupted sleep or eating patterns, or you think he/she might have a learning disability or ADHD, a trained professional at MKPlus can help.

“Some of our behavioral health providers specialize in particular treatment modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,” describes Dr. Haas. “Each client is seen as an individual, and is referred to the therapist that is the best fit according to the client’s presenting concern.”

According to Dr. Haas, MKPlus offers comprehensive assessments that parents find beneficial in understanding their child’s cognitive, academic, and social/emotional profile. “We are fortunate to have exceptionally well-trained psychologists who offer their expertise in evaluating an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, often yielding important recommendations around clinical intervention and education planning,” states Dr. Haas.

MKPlus is one of the few sites in the area that evaluates children who might have an autism spectrum disorder. “We are fortunate to have an esteemed neuropsychologist who provides these evaluations,” informs Dr. Haas. “We strive hard to avoid a wait list for this service.”

Dr. Angelika Montalbano, a licensed psychologist, specializes in the assessment of children, adolescents and young adults. She conducts both psychological and intelligence testing.

“Before parents bring in their child for an assessment, I provide a free telephone consult to get as much information as I can about the case and to educate the parents about all aspects of the assessment, so there are no surprises when they bring their child in for an evaluation,” explains Dr. Montalbano.

“I receive calls from lots of parents who feel overwhelmed because the idea of testing sounds intimidating or it sounds like a number-driven concept. I try to make it more human and give meaning to it. Also, part of my job on the phone is to bring their level of anxiety down. I let them know that there are no dumb questions.

“After our psychologists collect and evaluate the information gathered during the assessment, they meet with the parents to discuss findings and provide recommendations. The evaluation is summarized in a report that is often essential in guiding the parent’s next steps (e.g., clinical intervention, special education services, accommodations).

“Everyone at this practice strives for excellence of care from the first call a parent makes to this office. We understand that anyone calling here is feeling some level of distress, and therefore, we are attentive to their needs, recognizing the importance of returning their calls within a short time frame.”

“This compassionate feeling continues as patients arrive at our office,” adds Dr. Haas. “Whether it’s the warm greeting from our receptionist or the empathetic understanding from a behavioral health therapist, we provide an accepting, non-judgmental environment.

“Parents leave our office feeling less alone because they see we work as a collaborative team, so they feel comfort knowing they have a support system here to guide them on their journey to help their children.”

For more information about MKPlus, call 215-968-5151 or visit www.mkplusnewtown.com.

PHOTO CAPS: 1. Christine Trainer Haas, PhD

  1. Angelika Montalbano, Psy.D.