Counseling with Children

Counseling with children often involves a parental hope for behavioral changes, or are focused on loss, family transitions, divorce and trauma. Counseling with children involves significant inclusive involvement with parents. In addition to meeting in the room with the child and I, the parents come in independently to meet around collaborative parenting and discipline strategies.

When working with children, my style is interactive. My goal is to create a good connection that allows children to feel safe and comfortable with the process of exploring feelings, situations of distress or concern, and planning with parents for successful resolution or accomplishment and the work of moving forward towards change and/or healing.  Parental participation is crucial for success.

The first meeting is always with the parent(s). For the process to work, there has to be good rapport established with the parent(s) and of course eventually with the child. Sometimes all meetings are with both parents and child(ren). Sometimes there are separate meetings with the parents for coaching around discipline or issue management at home. Sometimes there are separate meetings with the child. In such cases the parents are required to be in the waiting room in case their involvement is required.

Counseling and psychotherapy with children can result in a number of benefits, including reaching goals, improving interpersonal relationships, emotional healing and resolution of the specific concerns that led the parents to seek services. Working towards these benefits requires specific commitments on the parent’s part. Those commitments include active involvement, honesty, openness, co-creating the working relationship and a willingness to stretch beyond their comfort zone around implementing new parenting methods.

Children’s behaviors often reflect what is going on in the family or with the parents. Children are emotional and energetic sponges. They pick up on the emotions and energy in the home environment and react in a variety of ways. Sometimes the cause is that parents hold rigid perspectives, attitudes, expectations, and assumptions, about parenting, themselves and their children. If present, I will challenge these and propose different ways of looking at, thinking about, or handling things. Some times the children are responding to school or community emotions and energy. And some children are very tuned into or sensitive to an aspect of child development, to an extreme that seems extraordinary. These circumstances are often indicators of specific gifts or strengths that the child holds and has not yet learned how to manage them.

I often will give parents homework to help facilitate change. Some examples are, reading, having conversations with other parents, or practicing some form of stress reduction. Completing the homework is not a requirement. Not completing the homework is always informative around what is needed and/or what works best to facilitate positive change. If the homework is not completed it means that it was not the right homework or not the right time for the homework to be assigned.

I often will give parents homework to help facilitate change. Some examples are, reading, having conversations with other parents, or practicing some form of stress reduction. Completing the homework is not a requirement. Not completing the homework is always informative around what is needed and/or what works best to facilitate positive change. If the homework is not completed it means that it was not the right homework or not the right time for the homework to be assigned.

Common Issues with Adolescents and Children

  • Abuse
  • Anger Management
  • Anxiety, Panic, Fears
  • Chronic Pain or Illness
  • Depression
  • Family Violence
  • Loss or Grief
  • Mood Swings
  • Motivational Strategies
  • Resentment
  • Peer Relationships
  • Parental Divorce
  • Self Esteem
  • Social Skill Development
  • Stress Management
  • Substance Abuse
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Trauma and PTSD

The behavioral health insurance panels I am affiliated with are Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicare.