Because all client meeting are provided via video teleconferencing or over the phone, I have found that most children have little interest to engage with this format. This is understandable. Consequently most inquiries for counseling with children result in a referral with a provider who will meet with the child in-person. In certain cases I will work only with the parents, holding the to the idea that parents might be the best therapist for their child. Of course this depends on the parent’s interest, capacity and personal state of wellbeing.
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 individual meetings with the parents are essential for facilitate collaborative parenting and behavioral change strategies.
When working with children the 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, accomplishment and moving forward towards change and/or healing. Again 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 behavior management at home. Sometimes there are separate meetings with the child. In such cases the parents are required to be available in case their involvement is required.
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 root of the child’s issue is a parent rigid perspective, attitude, expectation, and assumption about what is needed. If this is the case then will talk with the parent about the possibility of a shift in perspective, thought pattern or behavior.
Some times the children are responding to school or community emotions and energy. Some children are very tuned into or sensitive around transitioning to a new child development stage. The child’s sensitivity is often an indicator of specific gifts or strengths the child possesses and has not yet learned how to manage appropriately.
When appropriate, I give parents homework aimed at facilitating discovery or change. Some examples are, reading, writing, having conversations with others, or practicing some form of stress reduction. Completing any homework assignment is not a requirement. 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. Not completing the homework is always informative around what is needed and/or what works best to facilitate positive change.
Common Issues with Adolescents and Children
- Anger Management
- Anxiety, Panic, Fears
- Family Violence
- Loss or Grief
- Mood Swings
- Peer Relationships
- Parental Divorce
- Self Esteem
- Social Skill Development
- Stress Management
- Substance Abuse
- Sleep Disturbance
- Trauma and PTSD
Medical claims submission to insurance companies is not a part of my practice. All clients pay directly for services, and handle reimbursement from insurance companies themselves with itemized receipts provided and suitable for this process. All meetings with clients are virtual: conducted over the phone or via video-conferencing.