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Hancock psychotherapist helping families

November 11, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

Hancock psychotherapist helping families



HANCOCK - The breakthrough came after months of intervention geared toward saving two young children from further abuse and neglect.

In late October the children, their estranged parents and their grandparents came together for the first time in the new office of Hancock psychotherapist Barbara Andreadis, she said.

The parents agreed to work on changing behaviors that were having an adverse effect on their children, she said.

The breakthrough "really signifies what we do" at Crossroads Behavioral Therapy Center, Andreadis said.

"Those two kids may have a chance now of getting an education," she said.

The director of Crossroads Behavioral Therapy Center and her staff of four therapists mix innovative therapeutic methods with a heavy dose of empathy to help their clients make positive behavioral changes, said Andreadis, who is state-licensed to practice psychotherapy in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

"Therapy is about changing behavior. It's not about being sick," she said. "I will use any modality that I have to use to make change happen."

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Drum therapy enables children to express the intensity of their feelings by beating on an Indian drum. Role-playing and art therapy are other methods of expressing emotion.

Hypnosis is sometimes used for memory recall and relaxation. Group therapy helps build trust and highlight people's differences.

Crossroads also offers alcohol and chemical dependency counseling, bio-energy feedback, family therapy, and Tavistock leadership and authority organizational group sessions for school personnel and business professionals, Andreadis said.

She specializes in sexual dysfunction and relationship therapy.

And she always practices compassion.

Through the use of "compassion therapy," Andreadis helps her clients change nonproductive behaviors into positive and rewarding behaviors in a nonthreatening and empathetic environment, she said.

"You can change behavior faster coming from love than from blame," said Andreadis, 57, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

Her burgeoning business suggests successful results.

Crossroads Behavioral Therapy Center has more than 500 clients, 60 percent of whom are children, Andreadis said.

On Oct. 1, she moved her practice from 113 High St. to a more spacious suite at 47 E. Main St. in Hancock.

Most of Andreadis' business stems from referrals from clients, schools, state Social Services and Juvenile Justice departments and professional peers such as Berkeley Springs family doctor Andrew Berens and physician assistant David Anderson.

"We're just ecstatic that she's here in the Tri-State area," Anderson said. "She's been a blessing to us in many ways. She's definitely made a name for herself here."

Anderson said he and Berens refer clients to Andreadis because she makes her patients feel comfortable, earns their trust and has an instinct for interpreting their feelings even when they can't express them in words.

"We get nothing but positive reports about her outcomes with patients," he said.

Her "strategic therapy" practice of understanding the emotional problems that underlie negative behaviors instead of focusing solely on the behavioral content produces "very fast results," Andreadis said.

"You can cut to the chase quickly when you feel a feeling," she said.

Her ability to feel other people's feelings is a "gift" she's had since she was a child, Andreadis said.

She grew up in a household with a schizophrenic brother, and said the experience shaped her decision to forge a career helping individuals and their loved ones deal with mental illness and problematic behaviors.

Andreadis earned her master's degree in clinical social work from the University of Maryland, and graduated from the Washington School of Psychiatry with training and certification in such areas as compassion, family, psychological/medical and child therapies.

She spent the first part of her career working in a facility for members of the ministry with sexual dysfunction.

Andreadis said that experience " gave me a very bad taste in my mouth," but it also spurred her extensive research into the reasons for the "real widespread problem" of sexual deviancy in the Catholic ministry, she said.

Andreadis is writing a nonfiction book on the subject.

She spent the bulk of her career in a private psychotherapy practice in Annapolis that dealt almost exclusively with adults. After a car accident about three years ago, Andreadis moved to Berkeley Springs to pursue artistic interests, she said.

It wasn't long before she realized there was a need for therapeutic services in the area, she said.

Turning her life around to help Tri-State residents, especially children, has proven more satisfying that anything Andreadis has ever done, she said.

"We have made adoptions happen. We have made sexual abuse stop," Andreadis said. "When I go home at night, I feel great about what we've done."

Andreadis can be contacted at Crossroads Behavioral Therapy Center, 301-678-7100.

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