The stress of modern life takes a toll on families. We often find time with loved ones affected by work demands. Stress builds and tempers get short. Our relationships can suffer. I use a strengths-based approach to understand your household members, examine the patterns you most want to change, and to encourage the growth and positive change for each member and your family as a whole. Whether the issues are childrearing, step-parenting or a struggling child, family therapy can help you create positive changes.
Childhood is the magical time when personality and temperament are developing. We often think of this as the time of life as free of worries and full of exploration and joy. Yet, children too can experience depression, anxiety, fears and have difficulty managing their emotions. These big feelings often “come out sideways” through heightened fears, worries, clinginess or tantrums that go on and on. I hold a Washington State Certification as a “Child Mental Health Specialist”. I work with each child at their developmental stage in life. Children’s primary way to learn, express their distress and heal is through their play. In Play Therapy with young children, I engage the young ones and their parents utilizing art, play, games and role playing, to name just a few techniques, to help children learn to express and manage their feelings in healthy ways. I coach and support the parent since parents are the biggest influence in a child’s life. You are the center of your child’s world.
Parent/caregiver participation in treatment is essential for successful outcomes with children.
I often recommend reading materials, “homework” assignments, worksheets, child behavior charts and use role playing to practice new ways to interact with problem behaviors. I provide practical tools to help with daily family life. I support your family choices and values while giving you more tools to be a more effective parent.
- Parenting Tips Hand-Outs
- Behavior Change Charts for Kids
- Anger Management Skills
- Increasing cooperation through affection, positive motivation and rewards
The basis of Play Therapy for young children is that children use play to communicate and express the feelings and experiences that they cannot yet communicate or process verbally. Play Therapy includes a wide range of activities, including art, bibliotherapy (reading books and writing stories), use of puppets, play with dolls and symbolic figures, sand tray or role plays.
This therapy is used to heal and enhance the relationship between a child and his or her parents or caregivers. We rebuild trust, and joyful engagement within relationship, enhance self-esteem and increase the emotional connection so that children want to cooperate. We work to build the bond of love so that the child feels safe to grow and depend on the adult. Attachment therapy works well in cases of adoption, trauma, interrupted connection with a child and caregiver through illness or separation and in foster parenting. I utilize the groundbreaking work and approaches of John Bowlby, MD and child psychiatrist, Mary Ainsworth, Ph.d. of developmental psychology, and Deborah Gray, MSW, LMHC. I use Attachment approaches with foster children, adopted children, and children whose attachment with their biological parents was interrupted due to illness, hospital procedures or separation due to work requirements.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for younger children, this may include:
- behavior plans, reward charts, token systems
- role playing
- relaxation techniques
- gradual desensitization to fear and anxiety triggers
- social skills training
- deep breathing skills
- progressive muscle relaxation
- guided imagery to relax
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) teens and adults may include:
- learning to reduce and manage anxiety
- de-stressing techniques
- communication skills
- Mindfulness skills