Children and Teens
I work with children aged four through seventeen, treating anxiety, anger, depression and compulsions. Others are brought for bed wetting, oppositionality, and behavior problems related to ADHD. Some have attachment disorders.
Many are struggling to adjust to divorce, dealing with visitation schedules, step-parents and step-siblings. Others are adjusting to the death of a loved one or the military deployment of a parent.
With children and young teens I always meet with the parent or parents first without the child being present. This way I can obtain a thorough history without concern about what the child may be hearing. Then we will plan the first session with the child and parents. It is important that this session go well so that we have a positive start.
Typically I will meet for two or possibly three sessions with the child, using art, play, games to get to know them and to determine what they are thinking and feeling about the situations that are distressing and causing them to behave in ways that are not helpful. Then I will meet again with the parents to develop a plan for treatment.
I will provide the parents with therapeutic parenting methods that are tailored to meet the particular needs of their child and situation. We will follow the child's progress with these methods and continue to modify them as needed. Usually children experiencing these problems need some specialized treatment from their parents.
As therapy progresses I may meet with the child privately, with a parent or with the family depending on the situation. In all cases I will need regular updates from parents as to progress and current events in the child's life.
Older teens sometimes want to meet with me on the first session with their parents or to meet without parents at all. I respect their wishes but must meet at least briefly with the teen and parent together to understand the goals of counseling and to handle consent for treatment and confidentiality issues.