Depression and Anxiety
Some of the most common reasons for seeking therapy are Depression and Anxiety. These are two very common and serious health concerns creating unfortunate effects within families and workplaces.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Expressive Therapies can be very effective in treating those depression and anxiety issues you may feel are relentless and insurmountable in your life. There are many options for the treatment of depression and anxiety which I will explore and discuss with you.
Family therapy is meant to be very flexible. Often the counseling session will include the entire family, though some sessions may just be with parents or a subset of the family. Determinations for who is included in a session are based on the family dynamic and the problems and goals set for treatment service selected. Family therapy can be especially helpful for adjustment issues within a family, disruptive patterns that you would like to change, as well as blended families who are trying to foster new relationships with one another.
Children and Counseling
There are a lot of reasons parents seek counseling services for their children. Some reasons to consider therapy for your children include
- Fears, Anxieties, and Phobias – Fear is a natural feeling that can limit children when those fears become overwhelming. Phobias and anxieties are also common among children. The good news is that these are highly treatable issues.
- Adjusting to life changes – Life is all about change. However, children sometimes struggle to keep up with how fast today’s society is moving. Children develop at different paces and peer pressure may push them to grow up faster than they are capable. Developing a treatment approach for children struggling with adjustment problems focuses on goals that resolve the current problem, as well as improving the child’s adjustment skills. This help’s them prepare for new challenges and upcoming life changes.
- Grief – Children and parents experiencing a period of grief can have many difficulties. Some questions arising from this kind of situation include: How do I support my child’s sadness and grief? How do I help them progress through it? How do I take care of myself so I can care for them? Everyone experiences feelings of grief and loss. However, children often need special attention, to help them deal with issues raised by the confusion, guilt, and the stress of change. Ceremonies and rituals can be helpful in healing. Children also do well with something tangible to help them grieve. Use of art and play therapy can help children express their grief in counseling sessions, integrating their feelings and allowing them to understand how to move on and be able to get back to the joy of childhood.
- Separating, divorcing, remarrying and other family changes – So many adjustments come from a divorce. These can include new siblings, issues of loyalty and identity, even moving between the individual parent’s homes. These are life adjustment issues and some are easier than others. Children may also need to grieve the loss of the traditional mother and father relationship.
Other issues I often see with children are behavioral and emotional disturbance, giftedness, trauma and post-traumatic stress, abuse, or coping with developmental disabilities such as Autism.
We hear all the time that “children are resilient” and they ARE. That is why I am excited to offer great therapeutic services for children to help them work through their difficult life challenges. Children do well in expressive therapies such as play therapy, narrative therapy, sand-tray, art, puppets and role-plays.
Being an adolescent can be hard. Complicating factors such as pressure from peers, academics, and life-changes can make life very difficult for young people. As difficult as this time of life is for the adolescents and their parents, it is also a critical time for growth, separating from family, identify formation, and changes in relationships.
I work with adolescents who are experiencing issues with adjustment, discipline, and emotional disturbance, using a combination of expressive therapies and behavioral changes. Adolescents who are struggling with managing a mental illness such as bi-polar disorder, depression, or anxiety (including self-injury/cutting) do well with cognitive behavioral therapy as well as EFT/Tapping. Teens do well in group therapy with other teenagers, so I like to consider that in their treatment plan as well.
A solid, trusted, respectful relationship between therapist and client is essential for effective therapy – and this is especially true for adolescents. This may take some time to develop, but once the relationship is there, teens are exceptionally good at understanding how to use the counselor/client relationship to work through their particular issues. They really ‘get it’ and usually experience positive results from their hard work in therapy.
Counseling for Gifted Children and Parents of Gifted Learners
Is your gifted child intense? Do they struggle emotionally or socially? Has your child been diagnosed with ADD, Autism, or another disorder you suspect may actually be “giftedness” or 2e – Twice Exceptional?
Often gifted children experience real challenges in these areas. Parents struggle too – considering important decisions about testing, misdiagnosis, acceleration, and clustering. Parents of GATE children can feel alone in their parenting challenges, because they don’t feel comfortable discussing their child’s giftedness with friends, family, or school staff. Sometimes parents may feel their children will be okay anyway, and this is often confirmed with the child’s school.
Here’s the thing: these kids have enormous potential – and being “ok” is not good enough! I am passionate about helping gifted children embrace their potential. The good news is that these children do exceedingly well in supportive and respectful environments. Gifted children can easily tap into their strengths and creativity, which works so well in the therapeutic process.
Therapy for gifted children and their families involves working on social and emotional factors, developing coping skills, and managing the child’s natural perfectionism. For kids like these, it is common to see issues of depression, anxiety, phobias, over excitability and obsessive/compulsive issues.
Adoption is a life-long process that impacts all involved over the course of their entire lives. The good news is that generations of adult adoptees and their families have taught us much about their struggles. As a result, there are now abundant services for adopted children, which produce many success stories! Talking about adoption has become common and the language of adoption is becoming more respectful and caring.
The adoption triad is generally considered to be birth parents, adoptive parents and the adoptive child. Surrounding that triad is a larger circle of those who are impacted by an adoption, including extended family such as grandparents, aunts/uncles, and siblings.
The dynamics of adoption are very complex. Some of the core issues in adoption are loss, rejection, shifting family systems, bonding, attachment, guilt, shame, and identity formation. Those touched by adoption are profoundly affected.
Parents of adoptive children may struggle with issues relating to supporting their child’s identity formation. They may also have problems discussing sensitive topics relating to the nature of their relinquishment, involving issues like abandonment, abuse, mental illness, and drug addiction.
Adoption can sometimes be a second choice because of infertility, but that doesn’t mean it is second best. Adoptive parents or parents in the process of adoption after infertility can benefit from therapy to help resolve these complex emotions.
M counseling approach for those affected by adoption includes a core belief that attachment can happen for any child, including those who have experienced abuse, neglect and multiple placements. I have a deep respect for the adoption triad and can help you navigate the impacts of adoption for everyone involved. I offer optimism, patience, and the capacity to understand, explain, and tolerate intensely conflicting emotions.