Empowering Children, Teens & Parents
to Realize Their Potential and Create Healthy Relationships
to Realize Their Potential and Create Healthy Relationships
I provide support and counseling to children and teens who struggle with ADHD and explosive behaviors as well as those who have symptoms of anxiety and depression. I support their families in gaining understanding of what their child or teen is experiencing and in learning ways to support them at this difficult time.
“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible -- the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family."
- Virginia Satir, pioneer in the field of family reconstruction therapy.
For children and adolescents with ADHD or ADHD symptoms, I support the child and family in understanding these behaviors and learning strategies to manage them proactively. These strategies can be organizational, time management related, strategies for maintaining focus and attention and strategies for monitoring medication management.
Children who have symptoms of ADHD present us with additional parenting challenges. It can be heartbreaking for a parent to see their child struggle with “fitting in” or wondering why they are not included. Other children have difficulty managing frustration or disappointment. Children with ADHD might typically have a meltdown when other children might be disappointed but are better able to manage their feelings. For parents of children with ADHD, it can feel like a full time job managing your child’s every interaction or potential change of plans.
Children who typically forget things, can’t find things or get off track create additional challenges for parents. It can be frustrating when a child is unable to manage age-appropriate expectations and that additional responsibility falls on the parent. Sometimes knowing what age-appropriate expectations are can be confusing because each child is different as has different abilities. In this case, trying to walk the line between doing too much or too little for your child. For example, seeing your child suffer the consequences of not completing an assignment or going without lunch might be unbearable and so there is a tendency to overcompensate for your child’s underdeveloped organizational skills.
If you have these or any concerns about your child’s behavior or if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD are looking for support with helping your child become successful socially and academically, please contact me.
For children who display explosive behaviors, I work on collaborative problem solving with both the parents and the child. We work together to develop important skills, such as flexibility, problem solving, emotional regulation, frustration tolerance and social functioning. As children with explosive behavior are often lacking in one or more of these shills, I help guide the parents and child by practicing these skills in session to use proactively throughout the week. This helps develop the child's skills that are underdeveloped and reduce situations that cause extreme emotion. The goal is that when the child is faced with a situation they were once not equipped to manage they will have the skills they need for a more expected, age-appropriate response.
I understand how painful it can be to see your child unable to manage the emotions that cause this behavior and to be unable to help. So, I work to create a safe space in which my clients can share distressing experiences openly. I actively listen to the needs of each client and we work with a targeted plan of action in order to reach a solution.
I have found that with the flood of exposure in social media, many teens have developed a highly self-critical voice that reduces the ability for high self-esteem. This along with the increased level of competitiveness in academics, sports and extra-curricular activities, can often lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Learning self-compassion can aid in creating a kinder internal voice. Through identifying and exploring each individual’s strengths and empowering self-acceptance, I work with clients to help them find this inner voice. This serves to reduce the stressful, and at times, all-encompassing feelings of self-doubt. This is especially helpful and important as they begin to move toward independence and adulthood.
Teens are in a stage of life in which they are struggling to reach the stage of independence and their parents are transitioning from being responsible for their children’s safety and welfare to preparing them to face the world on their own. This can mean going away to college, taking a gap year traveling or in service or entering the work force and venturing out on their own. Each is facing a particularly challenging transition.
For many teens, this is a confusing and frightening time. Questions like, “Will I be able to handle being on my own?” “Will I make the right choices?” “Will I be successful?” “How will I know what to do?” The world can seem a scary and lonely place when not returning to the safety of a home and family at the end of each day. On the other side of the coin, they are driven to independence, which is the next stage of their development. They long to be self determined, to not have “someone always telling them what to do” which is how it can seem to them, to test themselves and to answer the many questions they have about themselves and their abilities.
For many parents, this can also be a frightening and confusing time. Questions like, “Will my child be safe and successful out there in the world?” “Will they make the right choices or fall to the temptations presented by being able to choose for themselves?” As parents, we remember the tiny, vulnerable infants we spent a large part of our days for the past 14+ years taking care of their physical and emotional needs. Babies who are now moving away from us and our care in an effort to become independent adults. Even though that is the ultimate goal of parenting, that moving away can be a painful, conflict-filled time.
Having someone to guide both the teen and the parent trough these uncharted territories can be supportive and helpful. By helping the teen learn to evaluate their values and priorities for themselves and develop a strong self-directed inner voice they can begin to see themselves as competent and capable. This makes some of the uncertainty of the future less anxiety-filled and scary. They become the captain of their ship.
If you are experiencing this type of transition and would like some support along the way, I would like to help make this transition a healthy, positive step in the next stage of your child’s development.
Relationships are an important part of our lives, but sometimes we struggle to maintain healthy relationships as our lives change. Changes such as taking the next steps of marriage, starting a family, buying a home or moving, changing jobs, becoming empty nesters or becoming a caregiver can have an impact on our relationships. Facing each new step of a relationship together as a team is not always easy. That’s because we each have different backgrounds and expectations and sometimes feel alone or misunderstood.
Other times a relationship becomes stuck and couples feel themselves growing apart but don’t know how to reconnect. It can be scary to admit that our hopes and expectations are not being met and it becomes easier to ignore feelings of disappointment or dissatisfaction.
It can be helpful to have guidance to learn how to reconnect and to better communicate with our partner. Working together we can continue to create a healthy, satisfying relationship for each partner. I provide a safe, confidential place for each to openly share thoughts and feelings and that can make that easier to accomplish that goal.
So whether you’re finding many aspects of your relationship challenging, or just want to feel closer and more connected to your partner, counseling might be helpful.
I work with families in all stages of life by helping identify the strengths of the family and building on those strengths to improve communication and build relationship.
Families often create negative patterns of behavior without realizing it and those patterns become traps and barriers to moving forward in a positive way. Together we will establish a place where each member of your family is listened to and valued. It is from this starting point that new patterns of behavior are created and healing and growth is possible.
The experience of parents separating is confusing for children and teens as well as for parents who might not know the healthiest way to support their children during this stressful, transitional period.
Typically, many of the transitional issues that pertain to the children and teens can be best handled in a setting in which the children remain the focus and their well-being remains the priority. This is difficult to do because this is an enormously emotional time and those emotions can get in the way of thinking clearly on behalf of the children. In addition, this is uncharted territory for many parents who are struggling with separation or divorce, and they honestly don’t know what is best.
I support the parents in identifying ways of maintaining a sense of safety and security for their children during a time of enormous change. I help them determine the healthiest approach to sharing necessary information along the way and how to set boundaries to protect them from adult the aspects of separation that their children might not be able to emotionally handle. Many of the challenges arise from the logistics of being in two homes and scheduling school, activities and visits. We can work together to find the best solutions to try to meet everyone’s needs. At the same time, I work with the children to help them identify and process their feelings about this transition and work with them to maintain healthy relationships with each parent.