Child and Adolescent Therapy
I always tell youth that therapy is a place to learn life skills. Child and adolescent therapy creates a safe space for youth to grow and learn in a variety of ways. Therapy can assist both children and teens in acquiring new skills to improve development, manage life stressors and increase their ability to express emotions and needs appropriately. It is also a space to resolve conflicts, understand feelings, learn to problem solve and of course…play, create and laugh!
Common reasons youth seek out therapy
- Major life transitions such as parental separation/divorce, moves, school changes
- Overcoming significant life events such as illness, parent deployment, new siblings, step and blended families
- Grief and loss
- Difficulties in managing mood and behavioral issues
- Teen issues such as drug and alcohol use, low self-esteem, identity issues, navigating relationships and dating
- Difficulties with friends and/or social anxiety
- Sexual orientation and gender identity concerns
- Disordered eating and body image issues
- School difficulties such as bullying, under/over achievement, stress, performance anxiety, time management and organization
- Traumatic experiences and abuse
- Adoption issues
What does child therapy look like?
When working with youth, my sessions look very different than adult sessions. Young children learn through play and art, so we will play games, draw, paint or fantasy play as we learn new skills and process emotions. With teenagers, we may engage in conversations, music, art and drawing. I also hold walk and talk therapy sessions which many teens enjoy, as walking side by side while talking can feel less threatening and can channel their energy in a positive activity. I always involve parents in the therapy process, whether including the parent(s) at the end of sessions to update them on skills learned or through family therapy sessions with both child and parent(s). In order to best support your child, I coach parents with tools to encourage the new behaviors and skills your child is learning in sessions.
What is parent coaching?
Often times, as part of family therapy or when I am working with your child individually, I will meet with parents either in session with the child or alone to explore new parenting tools. As a parent coach, I believe you are the expert in your child’s life; however, I will coach you in implementing new responses and approaches to your child’s behaviors. As Dr. Jay Katz stated, “When you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.” It can be beneficial to talk with a professional to gain new insights and tools into specific parenting methods that may best benefit your child’s temperament and behaviors.