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Children

Children are often unable to identify and verbalize their feelings, and they express anxiety differently from adults. Anger, clingy behavior and physical symptoms are some of the ways children show that something is wrong. Children benefit when adults accurately read and respond to their feelings and behavior. Therefore, parents participation in the therapy facilitates the child's progress. Sand Tray Therapy, Art Therapy, EMDR, SMART (Senosory Motor Arousal Regulation Therapy) are incorporated into traditional talk therapy to provide treatment that is tailored to your child's individual needs. Young children are seen with their parents.  Some of the issues that children are helped to deal with are:

 

      Parent divorce / remarriage
      Anxiety, fears & phobias
      Depression
      Separation issues/clinging behavior
      School phobia
      Bullying
      Poor social skills/shyness
      Medical or other trauma
      Chronic illness
      Bereavement
      Anger/explosive behavior

 

 

Pre-teens and Adolescents 

Life between the ages of 13 and 18 is wrought with changes and confusion. A strained relationship between parent and teen can leave a teen feeling alone to manage all the challenges of this developmental stage. Teens enter therapy for many of the same reasons as children, however other problems may be:

 

    Academic demands and school related stress
    Making the transition to college or work 

 

    Drug and alcohol use 

                                                                       Issues related to sexuality                                                                  
     Depression
     Anxiety
     Social isolation
     Medical or other trauma
     LGBTQ-related social stress
        Peer pressure 

 

 

Mindfulness For Stress Management

 
Children are often told to pay attention, but keeping our minds focused is often hard, even for adults. Our minds are constantly thinking, in response to the many sources of stimulation that come into our awareness all the time. Being mindful means we are simply paying attention to what is happening at this very moment. By learning mindfulness, children learn how direct their attention to what they are feeling right now. Learning this skill naturally leads to greater control of emotions. Melt downs, and temper tantrums can be replaced with calmer emotional states, thoughtful ways of responding to stimulation, and more focused attention in general. Mindful walking or focusing on breathing are just two of the skills I teach children to master this important skill. Mindfulness combined with simple yoga poses provides children with greater mastery over regulating their emotions and focusing their attention. 
 
As children grow their stress increases. Social and academic challenges, combined with pre-existing struggles such as low self esteem, make the high school years unbearable for many teens. Mindfulness builds resilience and provides a tool for finding peace even in the most stressful situations.  

Signs of Stress in Children
 
Irritability, anger, temper tantrums
Somatic complaints such as headaches & stomach aches 
Regression to an earlier level of functioning, (child resumes thumb sucking after it had stopped)
Insomnia, nightmares, waking during night 
Excessive daydreaming, poor concentration
Clinging behavior, separation anxiety 
Cries easily, sadness, moodiness
 
If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, and a physical exam by a medical doctor has ruled out a physical cause, your child may be struggling with anxiety, depression, stress or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Children struggling with the above symptoms have difficulty moving through the developmental stages of childhood. Addressing emotional problems early prevents the development of a bigger problem later on. In general, children often respond quickly to psychotherapy and get back on track, moving toward the next developmental milestone. In my experience, when therapist and parents work collaboratively, progress is accelerated. 
 

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