Counseling for children, teens and families
With children, I use a variety of play therapy techniques to help them feel comfortable and to encourage open communication. Generally each session starts with a check in together with parents, and ends with a wrap up and sharing of what the child worked on or learned. Children need gentle guided practice to put what they are feeling into words, which is the first step in sharing what they want and need appropriately with others. When they are able to do this successfully, this is when tantrums, melt downs and behavioral problems are greatly reduced.
My form of play therapy speaks directly to the child in the language of imagination and play. This makes it easier for them to understand and relate to the information. Through this approach, children are able to safely navigate through difficult emotions, practice social skills, identify solutions and learn to communicate more effectively with their family and others.
With teenagers, sometimes it feels like they speak a whole other language, with different priorities and concerns that are confusing and frustrating for parents. Often, they can shut down and stop talking all together unless out of rage or anger. I have seen this time and again, and in my experience what everyone really needs is to feel heard and understood.
I am able to help your teenager build trust in me and in their own abilities, and when it’s time, eventually I will add in increasing family therapy and interactions to help them in communicating their needs and resolving past events of hurt. This also provides the opportunity for them to practice listening to you again. Your son or daughter is still in there, and most of the time we find that she/he misses you just as much as you miss them. They just need the tools to be able to get through the hurt and to communicate again.
Family Counseling. Whether it’s about building a disconnected relationship or resolving past hurt and issues, I have years of experience in the delicate balance of helping all members in a family feel heard and validated. I prefer to meet with family members by themselves at first, so they can speak freely on their frustrations and needs without the worry of hurting other’s feelings or having to edit or censor. I am then able to put together a plan that helps address all needs mentioned by the family members, in a format that feels non-threatening and safe. However scary your challenge feels, know that you are not alone in this.