Children and Adolescents/Teens Services
I incorporate play therapeutic techniques with traditional talk therapy as a means of respecting the way in which children communicate and express their emotional states of mind. Children often don't have a "vocabulary" for what they feel, but have the ability to bring me into their "world" so that I can better understand and interpret what causes issues such as defiance, nightmares, bed wetting, aggression, school phobia, and bullying. It is also very effective with victims of abuse and other forms of acute trauma.
I've come to believe that this method allows the child to manipulate the world on a smaller scale, something that cannot be done in the child's everyday environment. By playing with specially selected materials, and with the guidance of an empathic professional, the child plays out his/her feelings, bringing these hidden emotions to the surface where s/he can face them and cope with them. Because children are inherently resilient and don't have years of defenses built up, this form of therapy helps them process and "move through" issues that could later on develop into much more serious forms of psychological pathology.
I work from the perspective that a young person coming into therapy needs to have the experience of being "heard" by an adult with whom they can feel aligned and trust. This is a developmental period where one feels invincible. Understanding long term consequences and the impact of one's actions is met up with this fact, which is often a source of great stress on families. It is not uncommon for a youth to have trepidation and mixed feelings about coming to therapy, so I see my job as helping them feel safe to express whatever comes to mind without fear of judgment.
I have become troubled as a clinician by the way in which our youth are making increasingly quicker and bumpier transitions between childhood and adulthood. There are ever- present pitfalls of peer pressure, media influence, and stresses caused by ruptures in the family system, such as divorce. Many parents bring their adolescents/teens in to see me out of fear of the unknown: worries about drugs, sexuality, violence, and peer influences. I work with parents to help them understand how to express these concerns in a way that can be better taken in by their son/daughter and help the youths appreciate how their decisions and choices affect others and their chances for success in future endeavors.