Child and Teen Therapy
My son is doing so much better. I'm so glad we came! Thank you!!
Working with children (18 months through 18 years) means I also work with the entire family system to improve family dynamics, increase support, and promote healthier relationships with self and others.
What is Psychotherapy for Children and Adolescents?
Sometimes kids, like adults, can benefit from therapy. Psychotherapy refers to a variety of techniques and methods used to help children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties with their behavior or emotions. For children and adolescents, playing, drawing, building, pretending, verbal and non-verbal communications are important ways of sharing feelings and resolving problems.
As part of the initial assessment, your clinician will review the struggles the child is experiencing, the history, the child's level of development, strengths and interests, and the interventions most likely to help with the presenting concerns. Individual psychotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments (such as family therapy, working with the school, and coordination of care with medical doctors).
In the relationship that develops between the therapist and the patient, it is very important that the child or adolescent feels comfortable, safe and understood. This type of trusting environment makes it much easier for the child to express thoughts and feelings, and use the therapy in a helpful way
The length of the therapy depends on many factors. Some goals are met very quickly, others may require more time, due to factors such as greater complexity or severity of the problem, pre-existing social skills and emotional regulation deficits, cognitive development, and family involvement.
Common reasons kids see a therapist
Kids see a therapist for many reasons. Some common reasons kids see a therapist include:
Issues with behavior and mood - such as sleep, eating, academic and social functioning, emotional reactivity, exercise, weight loss/gain, appetite, motivation, attitude, anxieties, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide attempt, hostility
Major transitions and significant life events - such as divorce, marriage, moves, serious illness, death, new siblings, a parent leaving on military deployment
Feelings about family issues - such as parents' divorce or remarriage, loss of a family member, serious illness of a family member, new siblings
School-related issues and stressors - such as academic underachievement, homework, study skills, text anxiety, performance anxiety, social anxiety, bullying, peer pressure
Sports-related issues and stressors - such as performance, anxiety, goal-setting, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, burnout, loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
Physical symptoms without a medical cause - such as stomach aches, nausea, headaches, heart palpitations, nightmares and other sleep problems, bedwetting, frequent visits to the school nurse, weight loss, weight gain, lack of appetite, excessive appetite, lack of energy, hyperactivity, sweating, trembling, hot or cold flashes, feeling short of breath, feeling of dizziness, feeling of being disconnected from oneself, fear of dying
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express thoughts or feelings. Through play therapy, children can learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn new ways of relating to others.
When children have emotional or social skill deficits, clinicians can help them learn more adaptive behaviors through play therapy. In play therapy, the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems by building on the natural way that children learn about themselves, their relationships, and the world around them. The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions also can provide an experience for healing.
Licensed Child and Adolescent Therapist, Certified in Play Therapy
Patti has years of experience counseling and connecting with children and adolescents. Before she began her private practice, she led a school-based therapy program for "at-risk" children and their parents, led healing groups for children and adolescents suffering from loss and trauma, treated older teens for crisis stabilization in a hospital setting, provided supervision for visiting parents and children in foster care, and worked with young mothers in a maternity shelter She worked for various programs as a swim instructor/coach, which is where she learned she loved helping others to overcome their challenges and succeed!
Patti has passed fingerprint and background checks with registries for child abuse and neglect and has also passed a comprehensive FBI background investigation. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, has completed a graduate degree in counseling psychology for marriage and family therapy, completed years of clinically supervised experience, and passed hours of rigorous State testing. Additionally, Patti is certified in play therapy, nurturing parenting, trauma-informed care, trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) and has completed advanced coursework in child development, adolescent development, play therapy, language development, learning and memory. (Please be careful about putting your child at risk with unlicensed, undertrained counselors who have not passed background checks.)
I provide a free phone consultation so we can talk and determine if I can be of help to you or your child. You may call me at (760) 585-5680, or fill out my contact form.
Thanks to The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and the Association for Play Therapy