Many children go through a time in life where they seem to struggle in school and at home. For some children, these changes may seem to come out of the blue. For other children, they are a response to transitions such as the birth of a sibling, divorce, a move or a death in the family. If children experience emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, they frequently are more able to heal from this event with the help of a therapist. We work with parents of child clients in a team approach to child therapy. This means that parents are a resource in their child’s treatment and we assist parents with parenting concerns as needed, meeting without the child in monthly sessions separate from the child’s weekly sessions. In parent meetings, the parents help the therapist assess progress and continued challenges and the therapist offers ideas and new skills in the face of old patterns and difficult behaviors. The therapist may also discuss referrals for the family to other services such as support groups, socialization groups, psychological assessment, or counseling for other family members.
We provide individual counseling and ongoing psychotherapy for children exhibiting one or more of the following:
- irritability in the child’s mood
- defiance, i.e. refusing to follow the rules, “talking back”
- an increase in physical or verbal fighting at home or at school
- sadness and isolation
- a lack of interest in things they used to enjoy
- sleeping and eating problems
- problems focusing on their school work
- regression to an earlier developmental stage, i.e. bedwetting etc.
- an increase in fears and worries
- avoidance of specific places, people or things
- excessive clinging and difficulty separating from a parent or caretaker
- difficulty with transitions such as going from home to school, leaving play dates etc.
- repetitive behaviors that severely impact the child or family
The treatment for these children involves a combination of play therapy, sandplay therapy and verbal therapy and a child-centered yet active approach. The therapist creates a free and protected space for the child so that the child can explore difficult material in an environment that feels non-threatening. The therapist uses carefully chosen play materials to encourage identification and expression of feelings.