Working with children and families is one of our favorite parts of the job! It is with great pride, honor, and enthusiasm that we accept the responsibility of joining families during a difficult time, with the goal of creating and reinforcing hope. We realize that parents are trusting us with the most important part of their lives, their children. Watching children reach goals, working together with parents to address difficult behaviors, and being a part of the happiness that therapy can nurture is truly fulfilling.
Working with families will frequently encompass individual sessions with children, family sessions with multiple family members, and/or parenting or co-parenting sessions to improve family functioning and address a wide range of issues. Sessions may be provided in the safe, convenient and comfortable environment of our office or your home.
Does My Child Need Therapy?
According to the CDC, one in six children between the ages of 2 and 8 years old has a behavioral, mental, or developmental disorder. The most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in children are behavior problems, ADHD, anxiety and depression. As a parent, it can sometimes be hard to know what is “just part of growing up” versus when your child may actually need extra treatment and support. Regardless of diagnosable difficulties, we feel that all families can use a little help sometimes. A trained and experienced clinician can understand how issues can present differently depending on age, gender and developmental level, and provide children and parents with a clear road map for moving forward with effective interventions.
Common Issues Addressed in Child/Family Therapy include:
Depression and Anxiety
Child Tantrum Behaviors, Whining, Defiance, Oppositionality
Child Self-harm Behaviors and Statements
Family Communication Patterns & Styles
Differences in Parental Disciplining Styles
Family Power Dynamics
Death of a Family Member
Blended Family Adjustment
Adjustment to a New Family Member
What to Expect During the Initial Meeting
After your complimentary phone consultation, family members will meet with us during an initial meeting, also referred to as an intake or diagnostic evaluation, to review concerns, gather information, develop treatment goals and discuss how therapy works. Weekly sessions are frequently recommended to provide the consistent opportunity to nurture the development of a therapeutic alliance of trust and security with your child and improve the overall efficacy of the treatment. Depending on the age and needs of your child, weekly sessions may be 45 or 90 minutes.
Because parents play a critical role in the success of therapy, it is important that they are involved in the therapeutic process throughout, which may include joint child-parent sessions, family sessions and/or separate parent meetings. Additionally, throughout treatment progress, observations and feedback will be discussed periodically.
The Role of The Therapist in Forging Healthy New Dynamics
In addition to a behavior modification program, a trained therapist can help a family understand how they have transmitted messages within the system to deal with or not certain kinds of feelings. This allows the family to have more access to certain feelings and make decisions about how the family wants to respond, react, and speak to various feelings within the family.
This dialogue is a complex one that unfolds over time and allows the family to learn how to become a resource for each other in times of need and crisis. This gives the family a sense of togetherness in the face of whatever challenges may be facing them over the developmental lifetime of the family.