Kelly Ernsperger, MSW, LCSW
Born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, I received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Purdue University followed by a Master’s of Social Work in 1998 from Indiana University. In the year 2000 I received my license to be a Clinical Social Worker in the State of Indiana and began specializing in providing therapy and behavior supports to autistic individuals and the important people in their lives (parents, sibling, spouses, caretakers, educators, employers, first responders, etc.). My career began as a Therapeutic Social Worker in an intensive residential setting for children who had been dually diagnosed with developmental disabilities and mental illness. I moved on from there to be the outpatient Clinical Social Worker at the autism clinic at Riley Hospital. Then, while establishing my private practice, I enjoyed a brief stint as a mental health crisis worker providing evaluations to determine need for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization at another Indianapolis based hospital. I have been given the opportunity to volunteer and provide paid consultation to several agencies, associations and school systems throughout Central Indiana and the honor to speak on autism specific topics to local and national audiences. Alongside my clinical work, I have spent many years training and educating family members, educators and medical professionals and their staff. Throughout my career, I have helped grow autism awareness, acceptance and support across the State. In my free time I enjoy being outdoors and spending time with my husband, our little dog Millie and our friends in our own little neurodiverse world.
ABOUT MY PRACTICE MODEL:
On my home page I reference my approach as "Combining evidence-based therapy approaches with practice-based evidence" I would like to take a moment to describe what those words used together really mean. “Evidence-based practice” approaches are the research validated and widely accepted clinical frameworks applied in the field of psychotherapy. “Practice-based evidence” is applying the expertise and clinical evidence I have gained through spending decades of listening carefully to the individuals and families with whom I have worked. This experience allows me to accommodate the best scientific advances in mental health with important considerations to the experiences, unique thinking styles and cultural norms of the Autism community. Whether you choose to work with myself or another therapist, I strongly urge you look for a therapist who has had significant experience talking to and working with autistic individuals. There are many effective and evidence-based approaches to helping people understand themselves, identify their goals and meet their own expectations and many well-meaning helpers out there interested in applying these strategies in their work with you. However, if a competence in the nuances of the neurodiverse brain and lived experience is not combined with the academic research, then these kind and well-meaning providers may inadvertently be offering services that may complicate your journey further.
Billing & Insurance
I am not in-network with any insurance providers, however, I am committed to maintaining pricing that is reasonable and customary to mental health services in Indianapolis. My choice to not maintain contracts with third party insurers allows me to focus my loyalty solely on the client with no responsibility to a third-party in regard to confidentiality, treatment planning and scheduling. All treatment decisions are established between myself and the client or the client’s family with no limits being placed by your insurer. I am happy to provide to you the necessary documentation for you to pursue out-of-network reimbursement from your insurer should you choose to do so.
Since 2020 when the world was ushered into the necessity of virtual meetings, I have remained fully online. While I recognize that not all people are comfortable with meeting via computer, I made a business decision based on the best practices for the majority of my clientele. When the pandemic began, it became quickly evident that, in general, my clients were thriving in their therapy using this format. Meeting online not only allows me to meet with people all over the states that I am licensed in, it also diminishes the transition my clients must endure in order to get the support they desire. No longer do my clients have to tolerate the often-nerve-wracking drive through traffic, sit in a waiting room with strangers and become reaccustomed to the sensory assaults of my office each week. Meeting virtually allows my clients to find a quiet familiar space to hunker down and get straight to the issues most important to them. Without the additional time and distress involved in traveling to and adjusting to a new environment.
A NOTE ABOUT LANGUAGE:
It was once the most considerate practice to refer to certain communities using person first language (e.g., “person with Autism”). As Autistic individuals began to claim a voice for themselves, studies supported that most in the Autism Community prefer identity first language (e.g.,” Autistic person”). Additionally, recent research supports that the term “on the spectrum” is the least polarizing of all. Out of respect for the larger autistic community I have utilized this language throughout my website. I also acknowledge the individuality of every person I meet. I strive to be a neurodiversity affirming therapist and an ally of LGBTQIA and BIPOC/AAPI communities. I am committed to the learning necessary to honor the language that each person with which I work identifies. While history cannot be rewritten, we can learn and grow from those with lived experiences. As such, I have chosen not to abandon the website domain that I established for my business in 2005. Acknowledging that the “D” in “ASD” is antiquated, I hope that you can use this as proof of my growth in my life and profession.
IN License # 34004338A * IN Telehealth Certificate # TH0000312
Kelly Ernsperger, MSW, LCSW
Owner and Clinical Social Worker