Child and Family Holistic Care
There are situations in which the most effective therapeutic approach is working with the whole family. Many clients will be looking for this approach if the family is going through significant change or stress such as separation and divorce, loss of a family member, or the challenges of change as children go through developmental phases.
This may also be a very useful approach when the need for improved communication skills exists, when managing conflict or power struggles is necessary, or when a family is facing some particular circumstance that the whole family needs to learn about and discuss together such as facing a serious illness or some other significant change to the way the family has operated. Some of our therapists offer this family approach and will assist family members with an assessment and plan for addressing the issues together.
Often individual therapy for a child is appropriate when there are certain behavioral problems that the family is having trouble managing, or when a child may be experiencing anxiety, depression, grief, or adjustment issues such as adapting to changes caused by separation or divorce. Therapy may be needed in order to evaluate learning and behavioral challenges associated with attention deficit disorders, with selective mutism, or with other developmental problems.
There are a variety of techniques which can be utilized, depending on the age and needs of the child. “Talk therapy” where most of the therapy session is focused on conversation, as is often the case with adults, is often not the best plan for children. For that reason the sessions may include play therapy techniques, educational components, and other expressive activities such as artwork. During the therapy session the therapist is also having the opportunity to assess the child’s needs so as better to understand what will be helpful to the child and to the parents. Communication and consultation with parents is a very important part of work with children.
Work with Adolescents
As children mature into adolescence the stress in their lives often increases and this can be a very important time to seek therapeutic support. The rapid physiological and neurological changes in the body and the brain during this developmental phase create challenges that may require insight and behavioral strategies to manage. The issues of communication, challenges to parental control, and peer influences can benefit from the presence of an objective presence in the therapist that may defuse some of the parenting struggles that exist.
This is also a period in life when some issues such as underlying anxiety, depression or other problems may begin to present more significantly than earlier. Teenagers are struggling to begin to define themselves in a more and more challenging and threatening world in which we live. This developmental task alone may require some therapeutic support. This age group often benefits from having a trusted confidante who can help them in their process of self discovery, educate on more effective coping strategies and communication skills, and offer guidance in making decisions and exercising judgment.