I began my work with children at the Franciscan Hospital for Children, a community-based acute treatment unit devoted to helping children who displayed serious mental health concerns requiring short-term hospitalization. There, I ran groups and conducted individual counseling sessions with children aged 4-14.
Following that, I worked at the Labouré Center, an out-patient facility that serves children and their families. There, I continued to develop play therapy and behavior therapy skills with children aged 2-12, working with both children and their families.
Counseling is useful to help children experiencing:
- Behavior that is out of control
- ADHD—hyperactivity or attention problems
- Difficulties leaving caregiver’s side, such as screaming when left at school or with a babysitter
- Problems relating to other children, such as poor social skills or physical aggression toward others
- Teacher or pediatrician-expressed concerns regarding a child’s mood or behavior
- Adjustment to divorce, separation, or marriage
- Experiences of trauma—both recent or in the past
- Rigid behavior—picky eating, problems adjusting to changes in routine, etc.
- “Explosive” emotional actions or reactions that force caregivers to behave with extreme caution
- Excessive and unpredictable tantrums
- Parental substance use or abuse
Play therapy is used to work with young children that don’t yet have the words to say what they’re feeling. Various mediums are provided to allow children who are not yet mature enough to communicate using words to express themselves using play. These techniques include using playdough, playing board or card games, drawing pictures, painting, playing with dolls, using play-houses, creating puppets, writing or reading stories, using action figures, and listening to music. I implement child-centered play therapy techniques to build rapport with children and allow the child to express himself or herself in familiar ways. You can learn more about play therapy HERE.
As the caregiver, you can expect to work with me as a team in order to find parenting solutions for many of your child’s needs. I have experience with very young children, and possess the care and sensitivity required to counsel this age group.