Children and Teens

When you feel like your child is in a crisis then it is hard to know how to help. Often parents apply everything they know with more force, while this added attention can sometimes be helpful, other times it seems to fall flat or not get through. In these cases, the answer is to approach the situation better not harder. A different approach can make all the difference. 

I work with children with behavior problems, anger problems, anxiety, trauma, and depression. I deeply understand the development of the brain, body, emotions, and interpersonal processes. Part of what I do with children is to learn more about their context and assess for where they might need to be supported on their developmental trajectory to reach typical and optimal healthy development. My approach is based in coaching parents, but also directly interact with my child clients. I help them understand areas of strength and their need for support in other areas so they can be attentive to it and ask for help when an issue arises. 

Often when I meet with parents I assess the situation and offer them different approaches to the situation. 1) Parent Coaching helps the parents learn some strategies for new approaches to isolated issues with their kids. 2) Parental Support are on-going sessions that help parents master their own emotions in the midst of a crisis with kids and learn best practices for helping manage their children's outbursts. 3) Described above is individual therapy with the child. 4) Family Therapy is an approach to address relationships and interactions that affect the whole family, and the treatment involves to whole family so everyone benefits.

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I work with teens. Teens are in a constant state of flux, knowing what they want and simultaneously experiencing confusion or insecurity. Teens can come across as rebellious, impetuous, and disrespectful. The parents' job is to understand what it is that their children are saying and doing, make safe boundaries, and make the parental relationship a safe base of return. Teens want to be known, even as they are pushing boundaries to figure out who they are.

Adolescence is often the time when red flags and warning signs that need to be assessed and addressed regarding mental illness. I assess the emotional functioning of teens and help reduce stigma about seeing a therapist. I help them to understand their bodies and their minds. Knowing how they are growing, we can address areas that need more effort and practice to be able to better manage stress, social situations, and family conflict. 

I work with teens through a process of trust. I often request that parents release the reins on the therapy and allow their teen to own it. Teens need to feel safe to talk about what is going on in their lives, and that is threatened by constant tattling by the therapist. I inform parents of life-threatening situations or those that must be reported by law, but try to reserve extensive updates for pivotal moments in treatment.