Children, Teens, & Young Adults
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” Fred Rogers
As challenges like anxiety, depression, neurodivergence, school stress, bullying, and attention disorders have been on the rise in recent years, it is important that children and teens receive mental health catered to their specific needs. The pandemic further highlighted the urgency of supporting our young people as they navigate through life's complexities. Due to the closing and reopening of schools and distance learning, many young people missed pivotal developmental years in their school experience.
As a therapist with a diverse background as a parent, teacher, and school counselor, I bring a unique perspective to my work with young individuals aged 8 and up. My approach is rooted in the integration of all aspects of a young person's life, valuing their complete identity and experiences both in school and at home. I focus on helping them piece together the whole of who they are, as they may show up differently at school from the way they are at home or with friends.
Pressures of Technology and Social Media
In today's digital age, children and teenagers are immersed in the world of technology and social media. This constant exposure can lead to anxiety, feeling less than, bullying, and heightened stress. As children mature, these pressures only increase. What we are learning about the connection between tech/social media and depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and body image, is certainly cause to take these issues seriously and ensure that our children have the support that they need.
Therapy can be a safe space for your child or teenager to explore their relationship with technology and social media. We will work to address any negative emotions they may experience and work on building healthy boundaries to promote a positive and balanced online presence, while also safeguarding a positive sense of self. Work on boundaries is often developed in conjunction with parents, when appropriate, to ensure an appropriate balance in the family system.
Stress, Friendships, & Relationships
The phenomenon of peer stress is not new. However, the levels and intensity of interaction that young people experience today due to the constant nature of social media can take peer pressure to the next level. The desire to fit in can lead to difficult choices and emotional struggles, that are often best navigated with a trusted adult who is not serving as a day-to-day parent.
From elementary school-age and on, our young people are beginning to form friendships, and eventually romantic connections, while learning the social rules that accompany healthy relationships. Relationships for children and teens, like those for adults, can prove to be challenging, and therapy offers a supportive environment to discuss concerns openly and without judgment. I focus on building confidence, making authentic connections, and increasing self-esteem to help my clients develop their own internal compass to help them navigate relationships with resilience.
Research has shown that bullying is a serious issue that has a significant impact on a young person’s mental and emotional well-being. Therapy provides space to address the impacts of bullying along with the tools to cope with the emotional aftermath, and the skills to deal with it in the present. The goal of therapy is to help your child or teenager build resilience and self-advocacy skills to stand up against bullying and create and maintain a positive self-image. I can also serve as part of your child’s support team, by consulting with parents, teachers, school counselors, and administrators.
Coping with Stress and Adapting to Change Utilizing Mindfulness
Growing up brings its own set of stressors and challenges, from academic pressures to changes in the family structure. Therapy offers your child or teenager a safe outlet to express their emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms. In therapy, we will work on building emotional intelligence and resilience. Therapy is also a helpful space to develop mindfulness skills in learning to notice and accept feelings and experiences without judgment. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can also increase compassion, focus, and emotional regulation.
Gender and Sexuality
Our LGBTQIA+ youth are at a higher risk for suicidality and mental health concerns than their peers. Exploring gender identity and sexuality can be a complex and sensitive journey for young people. My practice is inclusive, and I offer a safe space for your child or teenager to explore their identity. I provide empathetic support, validation, and guidance, ensuring they feel understood and accepted during this important self-discovery process. LGBTQIA+-affirmative care is pivotal in working through coming-out, gender dysmorphia, and social acceptance.
Specialization in Neurodivergence
As a parent, a former teacher, and a former school counselor, I have extensive experience working with neurodivergent individuals, specifically those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). My understanding of neurodivergence enables me to tailor my therapeutic approach to meet the unique needs of each young person. Some of the things we can work on in therapy are positive coping skills, executive functioning tools, anxiety management, and social skills with neurodivergent-affirming care.
I believe that a young person's well-being is deeply connected to all elements of their life. By honoring the sacred therapeutic space of the child, I work to build a foundation of trust and understanding. I also work to find the balance by collaborating with parents and families, encouraging open communication and teamwork, while maintaining age-appropriate confidentiality for your child or teen.
My goal is to facilitate growth in all facets of their lives by highlighting the significance of their relationships and environments. My work is trauma-informed with a strong focus on ACT, mindfulness, and providing a safe and supportive space to process and problem-solve.
If you would like to book a complimentary consultation for your child or teen, please reach out so we can determine if it would be best to have that consultation with the caregiver(s) first, caregiver(s) with the child/teen, or if it is more appropriate for a teen to have a consultation with me directly.