Children, adolescents and adults sometimes behave in ways that puzzle and worry their spouses, peers, parents, teachers and family members. Sometimes their behavior reflects passing problems that arise in reaction to temporary stresses. But sometimes the troubles do not go away by themselves.
Children, adolescents and adults may feel guilt, shame, and anger as they struggle to understand these problems, why they are happening, and what to do. Families, spouses, partners and schools can get stuck in a confused cycle of blaming and helplessness.
When working with children, adolescents, adults and families, my view of therapy encompasses an integrative and comprehensive understanding of individual and systemic difficulties. Attending to the origin, meaning(s) and the productive/destructive nature of symptoms, I believe that while two children, adolescents or adults can have similar symptoms, their underlying difficulties may be very different and require distinct approaches.
Therefore, evaluation encompasses a series of interviews with the child, adolescent, adult or caregiver(s) to learn about the current situation, how people have been dealing with the problem(s), precipitating events and bio-psycho-social developmental influences. All of these facets are considered in understanding contributing factors and formulating treatment recommendations.
I view therapy as a collaborative process where the meaning and understanding of one’s problems are paramount. Therapeutic work focuses on increasing insight and self-awareness and working toward development of a more flexible approach in dealing with life stressors and varying emerging feelings. Whether the goal is to help a child resume a more age appropriate developmental path, reduce familial conflict, enhance parenting skills, assist an adolescent in negotiating their conflicts toward independence or working with an adult experiencing relationship or career concerns, my focus is to enhance self-efficacy, reduce inhibiting internal conflicts, aid in the development of enhanced emotional regulation and facilitate the full development of one’s talents, abilities, ambitions and ideals.