Psychological Services

Individual Therapy with ChildrenTeens, and AdultsCouples TherapyFamily Therapy • Psychological Testing and Assessment

Children

Many children have a hard time understanding their emotions and talking about their troubles and worries. That’s why I use the imaginative and creative theatre of play and art help to help them express themselves. Through play and art children learn about themselves and become more effective communicators, all leading to greater self-esteem. Through these mediums we are also able to role play conflicts and generate new solutions. Kids find this very empowering!

How play therapy helps:

• Identify feelings
• Develop communication skills
• Build problem solving and coping skills
• Overcome worries and fears
• Gain self-confidence

Parents

While your child is in therapy, I invite you to participate in parent collaboration where together we address issues such as how to be a consistent, emotionally attuned parent who can provide structure and appropriate consequences. This might involve reflecting on your family of origin and life experiences to see how they have impacted your current parenting style. Understanding and coming to terms with your own life directly leads to better parenting skills!

A note to parents on children with AD/HD:

One of my passions as a psychologist is helping children develop emotional intelligence, something I believe every human being is capable of – regardless of standard measures of intelligence. Many kids struggling with AD/HD have low frustration tolerance and difficulty learning from past experiences. These children often repeat undesirable behaviors when you could have sworn the lesson was previously learned.  You may find yourself thinking over and over again, didn’t I already explain that to him? Yes, you did, but here’s what happened.

The mind of a distracted, inattentive, easily frustrated, high-energy child does not stick around long enough to really feel the impact of his/her behavior. It’s as if the experience of parent teaching child a lesson is not laid down into the child’s long-term, experiential memory. As a result, these kids have a very hard time remembering how to solve a problem and knowing how they feel, other than frustrated. They also struggle to understand the impact they have on others. This is awfully bothersome to the child and parents and is a major contributing factor to the AD/HD child’s low self-esteem and sense of incompetence.

These kids frequently feel like they can never do anything right and often resort to the self-fulfilling prophecy of engaging in oppositional behavior, where their behavior (negative) matches how they feel about themselves (“bad”). Parents begin to feel ineffective, and the child begins to see him/herself as innately “bad,” “stupid,” or as a “mistake.” Often, it is at this point that parents seek treatment. A preferred treatment plan involves individual therapy for the child, parenting counseling, and adjunctive parent-child sessions. The relationship developed with the therapist offers children an ongoing experience dedicated to self-reflection, learning about emotions and problem-solving, and understanding the impact their attentional difficulties have on themselves and others. By understanding themselves better in an environment not associated with failure, kids begin to feel successful. Over time, children can handle frustrations more effectively, have fewer angry outbursts, and develop coping skills to gain mastery over living with AD/HD rather than being controlled by it.

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Teens

If you’re a teen, or a parent of one, you know how tricky this period of life can be. Teens today are dealing with so many pressures and trying to manage the onset of intense emotions.

Common Pressures:
Academic stress
Drugs & alcohol
Body image
Family issues
Common Feelings:
Stressed out
On the outside
Insecure
Misunderstood

The teens I work with comment that therapy helps them:
Feel understood
Voice their opinions
Be assertive
Develop coping skills
Set boundaries
Gain Self-esteem

Being in therapy helps teens begin to understand why they feel the way they do and how to manage the intense emotions that arise during these years. Because adolescence is a time to learn how to become independent in preparation for adulthood, teens can expect a high level of confidentiality in their sessions. I am very careful to respect this privacy when keeping parents apprised of their child’s progress.

I believe it is often helpful to look at what’s going on as a family affair, where everyone involved can benefit from addressing what they bring to the table. Singling the teen out as the “problem” is often an obstacle to healing. I encourage family members to be open to exploring their own issues. If the client is comfortable with it, this may include family sessions from time to time, or if it is more appropriate, family therapy with a separate therapist may be recommended.

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Adults

Individual therapy is a process of self-exploration, which leads to a clearer, more authentic, and accepting experience of yourself and others. If you are reading this, it probably means there is some area in your life where you are confused, stuck, or troubled. Talking with a therapist is often a key to moving forward in life. It is at times a gentle, supporting process and at other times challenging. This combination of support and pushing yourself emotionally leads to greater self-awareness  and can bring about a sense of connection, freedom, wholeness, and wellness within you.

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Couples

Would you like to communicate more effectively without hurting your partner and without sabotaging yourself? At any stage of a relationship, couples therapy can help partners understand and respect each other better and stop reacting and making assumptions about each other.  For lasting change, couples learn how they are repeating behaviors and dynamics from their families of origin. You don’t have to wait until your marriage is falling apart. Premarital counseling can help you figure out what’s right for you and you can begin to build the relationship you’ve always wanted!

Amicable Divorce/Conflict Resolution
I believe firmly that healthy divorce is possible. I can help you negotiate this very sensitive time in your life. If you have children, this is of the utmost importance. Your marriage may end, but you will be tied together through your children, and they need you to be able to get along. Learning to have a respectful parenting relationship is the most significant gift you can give yourself and your kids during this difficult time. There is a solution if both parents are willing.

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Family

Family therapy is an effective way to strengthen the bond between family members and resolve conflict. It also allows you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself in the context of your family. Family therapy is a movement away from seeing the problem as belonging to one person toward viewing the issues through the lens of the entire family system. Often in families, one or more members feel like the victim of another family member’s mistreatment. It is important that all voices be heard and that all negative behaviors and family dynamics be challenged to change. Overall, with the caring and supportive guidance of the therapist, family members can begin to explore problems, identify unmet needs, talk about feelings, be assertive, provide and receive support, and handle conflicts effectively.

In certain circumstances, issues of betrayal are primary and may require that one or more family members receive individual therapy to provide a safe environment for emotional healing. This may be recommended in place of or before family therapy begins. In the case of high conflict in the home, family therapy may not be recommended if the safety of any one person is at risk.

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Psychological Testing and Assessment

I provide psycho-educational and psycho-diagnostic evaluations for children and adults.

• AD/HD
• Adoption Readiness
• Anxiety/Mood Disorders
• Learning Disorders
• Weight Loss Surgery

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