You may feel frustrated searching for the right therapist for your child. Therapists who work with children--especially young children--are hard to come by. I aim to help those families struggling to find the right therapist for their child. I have a passion for working with children and have honed my expertise in play therapy, EMDR, behavioral, and narrative techniques that work best for children and teens.
As adults, we sometimes forget the difficulty of growing up. From being a young child, struggling with self-expression and regulating emotions to being an adolescent, feeling stuck somewhere between wanting to be a child and adult. Then we reach the teen years, where the expectation is to act like an adult with restrictions as our brains struggle to control impulses and seek instant gratification.
As a parent myself, I know what it is like to see your child having a hard time. It is a tough decision to seek outside support. Perhaps you are comfortable seeking a therapist for your child as you are trying to do what is best, or perhaps seeking a therapist feels like you are failing in some way. To those feeling the latter, seeking a therapist does not equal failure. It is quite the opposite. I want to work with you to help strengthen your relationship with, and understanding of your child.
I have been working with kids ages 3-17, implementing creative therapeutic interventions. No child is the same, and therefore, no therapy session is the same. As with adults, the basis of my work with children utilizes interpersonal neurobiology. I focus on what might be going on internally for the child and recognize where they are developmentally. When a child's nervous system is overwhelmed, they may be using outward actions to communicate what is going on within. In very young children, this may mean melting down or shutting down. In adolescents and teens this may appear as "rebellion" or turning away from family.
In working with child, adolescent, and teen clients, I take care to validate their feelings and explore what is going on in their inner world. Though my own adolescence is at a distant, I am able to tap in to the experience I had as an adolescent to better connect with my clients. Talk therapy tends to lead my work with teen clients but I also implement narrative writing exercises, mindfulness, art, and play when it is fitting.
"Thank you for letting me grow together with you, that I can learn again of what I have forgotten about simplicity, intensity, totality, wonder and love and learn to respect my own life in its uniqueness. Thank you for allowing me to learn from your tears about the pain of growing up and the sufferings of the world." - Gary Landreth, The Art of the Relationship
If you're coming to this website knowing little about play therapy, you might be wondering how play could help your child. We often place play down low on our to do lists. We may tell our children "go play" to quiet them as we try to get work done or make dinner. Perhaps you have structured play with your child in the form of family game night. How is playing a therapy intervention?
I have seen child clients open up through play during therapy. They are able to play out the thoughts they keep inside. I have seen children express emotions through play that otherwise lay hidden. They work through trauma and gain control. The 50-minutes of control they hold in the playroom carries through to the outside world so children are better able to feel in control of their emotions, and in turn, their lives.
I practice both directive and non-directive play therapy depending on the client. At the beginning of our therapeutic relationship, I will collaborate with parent and child to assess what is best for the particular child.
I also offer EMDR for children and have been trained as an EMDR child specialist. For more information click here.