Stepping Stones


We work hand in hand with parents – In Step is the only practice that offers parent coaching groups which run in tandem with children’s groups.  We know that children cannot learn friendship skills without the commitment of their parents.  Skills must be practiced at home with their parents for them to stick.

We place children in groups very carefully – After a thorough evaluation, children are matched in groups based on developmental level, chronological age, and social and emotional needs.  Parents cannot simply “sign up” for one of our groups.

We use an evidence-based approach that works – Stepping Stones is a structured, step-by-step approach for both parents and children using specific cognitive-behavioral techniques. Children learn the skills they need to make and maintain friends.

Positive peer relationships offer a critical buffer against stress and psychological difficulties. Rejection by peers is devastating to children and can be associated with such long-term problems as low self-esteem, poor academic performance, feelings of aloneness and loneliness, and even juvenile delinquency.

Stepping Stones encourages the prosocial skills necessary for the socially rejected child to make and maintain friends as well as to increase the child’s sensitivity to the impact his/her behavior has on other children. Difficulties range from poor listening skills to
low frustration tolerance, from shyness to misreading of social cues, from moodiness to body space issues.

The program works in phases:

  • social entry and making a good
  • first impression
  • communication and conversation
  • reading social cues
  • dealing with teasing
  • problem solving and
  • conflict resolution
  • stress management
  • self esteem and
  • anger control management


Skill building takes place through group activities, exercises, and psychodramatic techniques as well as homework assignments and peer feedback.

Generalization of skills to the school and home environments are heavily stressed with
simultaneous parents’ sessions which address:

  • cognitive behavioral techniques which can be
  • used at home to encourage social and emotional
  • development in children
  • behavior management strategies
  • the lessening of family stresses


In addition, we emphasize a strong team approach by maintaining consistent contact with all professionals working with the child, i.e., school personnel, physicians, mental health professionals, and school visits upon request.


The groups meet for one hour weekly in the late afternoon/evening. They are divided into
age- appropriate groups.

Fees are insurance and managed care reimbursable.
Please check your plan for details.

Contact us at 703-876-8480    

Also, take a look at the articles we wrote about Stepping Stones: