Children and teens can experience many of the same issues that adults encounter, yet their symptoms may look very different. An additional challenge for children and teens is that they have less power, than adults, to create broad sweeping changes in their home lives or social circles. Symptoms in children and teens can include low self confidence, irritability, social isolation, inability to maintain friendships, hyperactivity, acting out at home or school, poor academic performance, difficulty regulating emotions, regressed behaviors, experimenting with alcohol or drugs, increased risk taking, issues with food, suicidal thoughts, or self injury.
Therapy begins by assessing a child’s developmental stage, emotional and cognitive functioning, and social systems they live within. This helps in developing realistic treatment goals focused on reducing symptoms and improving the child’s quality of life. We examine the family and cultural system that the child is living in and use those systems to support positive changes in their lives. Children and teens benefit from learning how to identify and safely express their feelings, how to develop healthy boundaries with others, and how to problem solve challenging situations. Play therapy is used with young, less verbal children, to help them express their feelings, learn concepts, and develop coping skills. Older children and teens utilize experiential, eco-therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (talking through issues) to transform their thoughts, feelings, and sense of worth in the world. Teens can also benefit from E.M.D.R. and D.B.T. when trauma has impacted their lives.