Your child is full of strengths which can be overlooked when difficult behaviors or mood states are present. Learning to accept, tolerate and survive difficult feeling states and situations out of one’s control is often a core theme with my patients–both young and old. Therapy should be productive and positive for your child. You, as a parent, guardian, and caretaker should feel supported and included.
My role is to create a “free and protected space” where a child or teen is appreciated for who they are as well as acknowledging, in an age appropriate manner, the difficulties that brought them into the office. I often work with children for many years, throughout elementary, middle and high school, and beyond. I combine a depth psychotherapy model, focusing on building ego strength and resiliency as well as supporting identity formation, with practical approaches and interventions honed from many years of working with young people (and their parents) individually and in group settings. Integrating child and teen-friendly modalities into psychotherapy, such as expressive arts and sandplay, further supports the development and goals of each child.
Trust is important and I take very seriously my responsibility in treating a child or teen. The treatment plan for each child/teen is unique, co-created with caregivers, and an evolving, work-in-progress that is evaluated and adjusted as we go. If, at any time, psychotherapy appears not to be in your child’s best interests, your child or teen needs more assessment or testing, or another direction of help might be indicated, you will be honestly and directly informed.
Your child may not fit into any defined mold. Young people I see are often artistic, have learning differences, have difficulty succeeding within a school setting, or have issues with getting along with others or reading social cues. Your child may be a “person of strong feeling” who has trouble regulating their moods and frustrations. They may have trouble handling stress and anxiety and the pressures of being in school and at home, or may be dealing with a particular stressor such as moving, divorce, or death.
And, your child may have been labeled as “bad” in some way and continue to be stuck enacting that role, despite being sensitive and thoughtful at the core.
Your child will feel the most supported when all of the adults in their life are working as a team in a “web of support”. Working collaboratively with parents, teachers, psychologists, physicians, educational therapists and other professionals to support and create a unified approach for each client is important.
Artwork: Portraits of Laura created by young clients. Used with permission.