Pediatric Behavioral Health

About Dr. Guertin


Dr. GuertinDr. Guertin is the clinical director of Pediatric Behavioral Health. As a pediatric psychologist, she specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for childhood psychological disorders. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University and completed post-doctoral training at Brown University and UMass Memorial Medical Center. She has extensive experience helping children with biologically based medical and psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, obsessive/compulsive behavior, and eating/weight problems. Additionally, Dr. Guertin is a behavior management specialist who develops and guides parents and schools in decreasing child behavior problems. Dr. Guertin offers specific tools and explanations to parents and children to help them eliminate or cope with their problems in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Areas of Practice
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Behavior Management Training
  • Individual, Family, and Group Therapy
  • Developmental Evaluations
Dr. Guertin's Helpful Tip
How to Give an Effective Time Out

Time out is a behavioral management tool designed to reduce problem behaviors. It is effective because during a time out, the child does not get any attention or reinforcement. Beyond teaching good behavior however, Time Out also promotes emotional maturity because it teaches children how to stop and think before they act and how to calm down when they are upset. When implemented consistently, time out is a highly effective piece of an overall behavior management plan.

  1. The Place. The place you choose for time out should be very dull. There should be no toys, no TV, no books and especially no people. Some common options are a stair, a parent's room, a bathroom, or a hallway.
  2. How Long. A good rule is 1 minute in Time Out per year of age (e.g., 4 year old = 4 minute time out).
  3. The Behavior. Choose very specific behaviors that you will give a Time Out for. Behaviors such as hitting, biting, a fresh mouth, or persistent defiant behavior are good choices.
  4. Have a family meeting where Time Out is explained in detail to the child before you  start using the procedure.
  5. Every time your child engages in the problem behavior, inform him/her immediately and in a calm voice that the rule is No hitting, Time out. Then guide your child to Time Out. Set a timer for the Time Out time once the child is quiet. When the Time Out is over, ask the child why they were in Time Out. He/she should then repeat the rule No hitting.  If he/she does not remember, state the rule is no hitting. What is the rule and have the child repeat the rule back to you. Time Out is then over.

Some Possible Problems

  1. Child tantrums: Remind your child only once that Time Out does not start until they are quiet.
  2. Child tries to leave the Time Out area before the Time Out starts: block their exit with your body (be sure your back is to your child so you do not give him any attention) or shut the door (if Time Out is in a room).
  3. Child leaves the Time Out area during the Time Out: Return your child to time out, remembering not to speak to him or her. Then reset the timer for the full length of Time Out again. You may need to hold him/her in a time out firmly, but gently to prevent injury if child leaves Time Out repeatedly.  Be sure not to talk to your child while holding him/her.

Things to check when Time Out doesn't work.


  1. Be sure you are not warning your child more than once before sending him/her to Time Out.
  2. All adults supervising the child should know the rules and give Time Out in the same way.
  3. Once your child has completed his/her Time Out, no further discussion or punishment is needed.
  4. If your child says that Time Out doesn't bother him/her, this is a trick.  Ignore it!
  5. Any misbehavior that occurs during Time Out, such as cursing, spitting or hitting, should also be ignored. Respond by restarting the child's Time Out time after he/she is quiet.
  6. Make sure the child can not see the TV, hear the radio, or interact with others (including siblings) while in time out.
  7. Give a Time Out EVERY TIME your child breaks one of the rules you are disciplining with Time Out. Be consistent.