Children and Teens
Children and teens commonly come to therapy because their behavior or attitude is bothering someone else. It is not uncommon for children to initially feel some resistance to being in therapy. The first goal of treatment is to establish a warm trusting relationship with your child or teen. I do this by using humor, camaraderie and a warm and accepting approach.
Often children come into treatment because they somehow have fallen out of the normal growth pattern; play therapy returns them to healthy coping and growth. The language of childhood is play. Using the Play Therapy model is the most effective way to help children and teens look at their problems.
With a trained play therapist play can become therapeutic. There are many different ways to do play therapy. I use the Ecosystemic Play Therapy model. I look at where your child is developmentally in all areas of her life like; at home, with peers, with extended family, socially and academically. Then, I use puppets, role playing, drawing, storytelling and sandtray to help facilitate growth and change. Sandtray therapy involves the use of a large sandtray and many miniatures that represent all aspects of life. Using the miniatures in the sandtray leads to expression of feelings, attitudes and beliefs that may be blocking the client. Sandtray and play therapy techniques are used with children and teens as well as individual adults, couples and families.
Communication is not always verbal and the child’s use of toy figures can often reveal issues that they are not able to discuss with words. I also use Expressive Arts techniques to help facilitate awareness and discussion of issues that are difficult to talk about.
Emma is a gentle chihuahua mix who was adopted from a shelter three years ago at the age of two and one-half years. She listens attentively and quietly to children who find her presence comforting. Emma is even working to be a fully certified therapy dog! Completely accepting of everyone she meets, Emma brings a unique ability to help children engage in the process of healing. She is a gentle and patient animal who is able to be appropriately affectionate while observing a child’s limits. Emma is a terrific role model and can help children learn emotional regulation, how to relate to others, and how to heal the inner wounds that make a child feel broken inside. Being an adopted animal, she provides an effective starting point for kids who have themselves been adopted.