Seattle Counseling for Children and Adolescents
Families are formed in many ways. I see adopted children and their families and also other kinds of families in my practice. Children and adolescents may benefit from psychotherapy for a variety of stressors such as: major transitions, divorce, chronic stress of shared custody arrangements, illness or major injury, loss of a parent or siblings, and issues such as: learning disabilities, social skills difficulties or other school problems, communication issues with parents, abuse or neglect history, compulsive behaviors or other behavioral changes or mood issues, such as depression or anxiety. For teens there may be struggles over issues of identity and independence, fears of the future, feelings of pressure, problems with self-esteem, defiant behaviors, self-mutilation, and school refusal.
Counseling for Adopted Children
Adopted children may benefit from counseling in order to develop closer connections with their families, and to develop functional family skills and behaviors versus the kinds of survival skills they may have depended on in prior settings (orphanage, foster care, birth family). These children may need to process grief and loss related to the many changes in their short lives. They may need help forming a healthy sense of identity, or exploring cross-cultural issues. They often need help making sense of their own complex backgrounds and putting their life stories in a comprehensible order.
Counseling for School-Aged Children
In my work with school-aged children and teens I generally start by meeting with parents for as many sessions as it takes to establish an understanding of the family, the child’s history and the parents’ concerns. Depending on the age of the child and the unique circumstances I may then meet for sessions with the child and parents together or with the child alone. If attachment issues are a focus, parents will continue to be involved in the sessions. Additional parent sessions will be scheduled separately to go over the initial assessment & treatment plan, update parents on treatment progress, and address any new concerns as the treatment proceeds.
Seattle Play Therapy and Art Therapy
With school age children I may utilize play and art therapy techniques. With adolescents my approach may involve more verbal dialogue, structured games, art work, and possibly group work, depending on what each child needs and responds to and how they express themselves. We may also utilize relaxation techniques, role-playing or writing in order to help children develop insight and a healthy sense of control.