Individual and Family Psychotherapy for Children and Adolescents

What we do or feel at any given moment may be influenced by a variety of factors.

These include the following:

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  • Temperament: e.g. extroverted/introverted, ability to handle frustration, ability to calm oneself
  • Genetics: Many emotional disorders and tendencies run in families (e.g., depression, anxiety, distractibility, social difficulties)
  • Other Neurobiological Factors: e.g., visual vs. auditory learner, sensory seeker vs. one who is easily overwhelmed by too much input, self regulation
  • Developmental Tasks: There are predictable stages of emotional development in children that are often implicated in behavioral difficulties. For e.g., the “terrible two’s” (which can often extend to three’s and four’s), rebelliousness of teens.
  • Environment: For e.g., a child being bullied, feeling like a failure due to academic difficulties, parental divorce, loss of a loved one, parental discipline styles not well suited to the child
  • Family Emotional Factors: The emotional functioning of the family as a whole affects a child of any age. Examples are parental discord, a parent suffering from their own emotional struggles, sibling difficulty, poor communication in the family, suppression of feelings.
  • Lack of Skills: Certain social mores and skills can be taught with practice (e.g., sharing, interpersonal conflict resolution)

 

My job, as a Child Psychologist, is to assess which of these areas are implicated in the presenting problem, to communicate this effectively to the parents/caregivers and child/adolescent (if appropriate), and to develop an action plan to help. The intervention will be prioritized to the factors that are most prominent and individualized to the child and family. At times, I may meet with the child and parent(s) together, the child alone, the parents alone, or the whole family together. I am available for school observations and meeting with other professionals involved with the child.


With younger children, I often utilize play to build rapport, improve family relationships, and provide a window to the child’s inner world. Play is a wonderful way to help children work through emotional conflicts that they are not able to access through talking.

 

 

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