I work with children as young as preschool-aged all the way up through the teen years. Many of the youth I work with are struggling with worries, fears, anxiety or stress. They may be experiencing stress in school, with peers and/or within families.
Children and teens often have a hard time making sense of the jumble of feelings and thoughts they experience when they're under stress. Instead they're apt to "show" their feelings through their behavior -- they may get quiet and withdraw, they may develop new fears or worries, they may have more frequent nightmares and/or difficulty sleeping, their school work may suffer. Many kids express their distress by becoming more grouchy and irritable, talking back more, and/or having trouble getting along with peers or teachers at school.
In individual sessions with children, my first priority is to put them at ease. Using "kid-friendly" language and activities (play, art, games), I help them put words to "what's going on inside". I help them understand the connections between their feelings, events in their lives and their behavior.
Parents know their kids better than anyone, so together we work to better understand the nature of their child's difficulties. When needed, I help shore up the parent-child bond that often frays a little when children are distressed. I help parents experiment with strategies that can bring them closer to their children and help their kids work through their anxiety and stress.
I take a special interest in working with children and teens who are grappling with ADHD, executive functioning difficulties or specific learning disabilities. This interest comes out of my years conducting psycho-educational evaluations. I help students and parents understand each child's particular learning style and how it inter-faces with modern school demands. My goal is to help youngsters recognize their talents and strengths and work through the anxiety, self-doubt and/or depression that so often develops when school becomes a struggle.
My work with youth is grounded in a broad background including developmental theory, family systems theory and many years spent conducting psycho-educational evaluations. Depending on the age and inclinations of the child, I make use of play therapy and/or cognitive-behavioral techniques. Therapy with children is most effective when the adults in their lives are involved. I take care to incorporate the family in this work, so that kids can experience the adults in their lives working as a team toward a common goal.