My Approach

I’d love to be part of your child’s journey.

I know you are trusting me with what’s most valuable to you.

Every year when your child starts a new class, you wonder if the teacher will connect with your child the way you know they need.Will they give them the attention they deserve? Will they be attuned to the nuances of your child’s mind and heart, and teach in the way that they learn best? The same is true when seeking a therapist. You may meet someone who says all the right things, but the connection is not there. They just don’t understand what makes your child special and what to say to connect. Or you may just be starting in your search and wonder, “Is there anyone who could really ‘get’ my child? Wherever you are in your search, you require someone who has your child’s best interest at heart, someone who will strive to build a trusting relationship with them, and someone who will make sure nothing is overlooked.
When I meet with your child…
… I will understand that they are at their most vulnerable state and may not share in words the pain they are enduring. I will gently ask questions to learn of your child’s unique qualities and what brings them to see me. I will paint a picture of what therapy entails and talk about the steps I take to help. I will not use “big words” or jargon. It’s important to break things down and explain information in ways that will be meaningful to them. I will get to know your child’s personality. What makes them laugh and what makes them cry? When your child is ready to share, I will listen. This can be done not just through conversation, but also during play. Most importantly, I will embrace moments when your child starts to open up to me as an opportunity to bond and solidify their trust in our work together. You can be assured your child’s emotional wellness is my priority, and they are in the right place.

Let’s talk about how it all plays out…

Tap on the boxes below to learn more about the different steps we take to ensure the journey is successful.

Comfort

Education

A new way of thinking

Practice, practice… and more practice.

Positive results in three months or less.

We’ll all work as a team.

Step 1 – Comfort

It’s essential to create a relaxing and welcoming environment for your child. In my office are plenty of options for ways to interact. Familiar toys fill the room begging to be played with, and calming objects are present to hold. Your child can choose the communication style most comfortable for them. I also try to end sessions on a fun note as well, such as playing a game. At signs of discomfort or uncertainty, I provide gentle reassurance and patiently work at their pace. During the first intake session, you and your child can share with me as much as you feel comfortable sharing. As our relationship strengthens, your child will set the pace as we go deeper to explore obstacles, develop insight, recognize strengths, and identify helpful strategies that we can leverage into meaningful and lasting change.

Step 2 – Education

We’ll spend a session or two discussing how the brain affects your child’s feelings and actions… and what challenges are keeping them from overcoming negative thoughts and emotions. Education can be empowering and enlightening. It makes the problem your child is going through less confusing and gives them a greater sense of control over how to reach solutions. When your child knows what is going on inside, they are less helpless and have more ownership over what to do physically and mentally to improve.

Step 3 – A new way of thinking

Recognizing how negative thinking leads to avoiding daily situations, we will do some exercises to establish new neural tracks and help “retrain” your child to think about their challenges in a different way. For instance, consider someone with low self-esteem who puts too much stock in what people think of them. They have trained themselves to see other people the same way an antelope sees a pack of wolves. By helping them build their self-esteem and gain self-worth through positive affirmations, they can learn to see other people as potential values and not as dangerous predators. In time, these thoughts will stop being the decision-makers of their actions. Your child will learn to expect unpleasant thoughts to come up, and, when “mind bullies” speak, they will know who is actually in charge.

Step 4 – Practice, practice… and more practice.

The goal is to use the skills your child will acquire during therapy in the “real world.” Just like school, they will receive homework assignments. But don’t worry: There is no official grade. The strategies that are helpful in sessions should work in everyday situations, but there is no way to know they will work, or to get better at using them, without actually trying them out. For example, a child with a fear of failure in social situations could practice in therapy how to overcome their anxiety through positive thinking and calming techniques. I use imagery and role-playing as we lead up to implementing these strategies in social situations. The child builds their confidence in preparation for the big day – a situation in everyday life, such as talking to a peer at a party. The first interaction may be short and straightforward. As they practice some more, they begin to experience success. They learn self-reflection about what went well and what could work better the next time to get optimal results. If it turns out a strategy needs to be tweaked, we will talk about it and discuss possible changes to it in our therapy sessions. I’m really easygoing and flexible when it comes to this. And there’s never any judgment: If it takes longer to learn or use a skill, we will go at your child’s pace.

Step 5 – Positive results in three months or less.

Many of the children and families I’ve worked with have told me things start to get better within three months. This could vary depending on your child’s motivation during the process, how consistently we meet, the progress they make when practicing skills, and other obstacles that might come up. But, I promise, you will see movement toward your child’s goals.

Step 6 – We’ll all work as a team.

None of us alone will be able to make the kind of progress we want to see for your child, so we’ll use a team approach – one that involves parents, caregivers, and family members; key players at school like teachers, school counselors, psychologists, and principals; community leaders; and anyone else actively involved in their life. When sharing useful information and strategies to promote your child’s best interest, I always ensure that confidentiality is respected.

We are embarking on a journey together and you need assurance I can lead.

You may be keenly aware that your child is struggling, but it can be overwhelming to determine what to do next to solve the problem. It may feel like your child’s difficulties are obvious or clearly understood. Or you may feel stumped. There may be more lurking under the surface. It’s the sadness hidden under anger or the laughter that obscures your child’s insecurity. It can be not very clear to try to understand what’s affecting your child and how to help.
Here is where strong leadership makes a difference.
You need someone who can steer your child in an empathetic and compassionate way through the journey from pain to discovering solutions. From the very first session, I will help you and your child clarify your goals for therapy and the path we will take to reach a positive outcome. I can guide in many ways, so a conversation has meaning and focuses toward achieving success. Sometimes I will have you start the conversation, asking you to talk about moments at home where your child has struggled, or highlight wins they’ve experienced during the week. At other times, I will sit back and observe your child playing or listen to them speak. When I see or hear something that requires exploration, I will ask questions or provide feedback that will steer us toward a place of curiosity and discovery. I will also ask you or your child to discuss something difficult or uncomfortable. With sensitivity to your child’s experiences and their well-being in mind, I will help them push through. With solid guidance and a plan, your child will have a clear direction for the journey ahead. Therapy can provide the perspective and insight that’s needed to help your child gain the confidence to overcome obstacles and see the endless possibilities in front of them.

Uplifting, nonjudgmental, and evidence-based…
When your child has been at a low point for so long, it’s easy to be convinced that’s all there is. Instead of focusing on the negative, I look for strengths that will help your child deal with challenges. We will also celebrate small victories. Sessions are full of high energy, enthusiasm, laughter, and positivity to motivate and pump them up. The focus is on what your child does right and how they can believe in themselves again to be what they want. My office is a judgment-free zone. I will ask questions, listen intently, provide perspective, and give feedback. All to help your child move forward. I understand they may feel uncomfortable with the idea of talking about themselves. It’s not always easy for children to do. My intention is for them to feel comfortable saying anything that comes to mind. It’s when your child lets their guard down that they can be their truest self and open to new possibilities. Everything I do is based on evidence about how the mind and body are connected and what your child needs to do in everyday situations to make them work for them – not against them. Your child is continuing to grow and adapt to new situations. It’s crucial to apply strategies that work at every stage of development. You can be assured that methods will be measurable, so you will “see” the progress they make.

Together, we keep what works and change what doesn’t.
No preconceived notions or cookie-cutter approaches will govern our work together. When you come to me, I tailor therapy to the uniqueness your child brings. If a child came to see me to address social anxiety, I would be remiss in using the same approach I used for another child because that strategy would not consider their particular attributes. One child might have athletic talent, wherein they feel self-assured on the ball field although not when socializing with other kids. They might also enjoy speaking with adults, such as their coach, but struggle to make conversation with peers. They may possess conversation skills and confidence while playing sports or talking to adults, but the anxiety arises when fearing being judged by other children for not knowing what to say during conversation. When speaking about their strengths, I would build them up as courageous, already letting themselves be vulnerable and take chances they are not giving enough credit. I would use their strengths as building blocks to help them recognize they can overcome their anxiety by being brave in other ways. Another child might have a timid and sensitive temperament. The smallest setback, such as rejection by a peer, may bring tears to their eyes. They struggle with class presentations, as they feel embarrassed and humiliated by the process and believe they come across as dull and uninteresting. However, they desire to please others, work hard in school, and desperately seek friendships, even though they are too fearful of talking to others. This child might need a gentler approach. Their sensitive, hardworking, and caring nature are traits that would serve them well as they took small steps forward. Keeping in mind strengths and traits that maximize success, you can be assured I will find the right strategy that will work for your child.

Want to know where to start?

In our work together, we will uncover what is missing from your child’s life, what’s holding them back in worry and despair, and what are the ways we can help them move toward a place of happiness and fulfillment.

I provide convenient online and in-person sessions.

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