Child and Adolescent Therapist
Play is the child’s way of communicating just as talking is the adult’s natural way of communicating. In the playroom, toys are used like words and play is the child’s language. Dr. Garry Landreth
Children are not miniature adults. They simply can’t sit down and verbally articulate exactly what is going on inside their minds. They can’t even necessarily understand their emotions and the reasons behind all of their behavior. In fact, up until about age 11, children don’t even have the brain ability to experience abstract thought.
Children have an immense power to express what’s going on with them. They do this through play.
Play therapy isn’t just playing with your child. It’s an evidence-based approach to therapy that helps children resolve their problems through their own natural language.
Through the use of toys, dolls, games, and art supplies, children are able to reenact what they experience. As a therapist, I provide a safe space for them to explore this play. I also help interpret the play so that they, and you as a parent, can better understand their emotions and behavior.
Through play, children can also gain new skills that will help them self-soothe, regulate their emotions and behavior, and work through challenges.
I specialize in play therapy and expressive therapy. While that may seem obvious for working with children, many people don’t realize that it can also be useful for teens, young adults, and even parents. We all express ourselves differently through play.
Using art, writing, and other forms of self-expression can help you access new layers of self-understanding. These can also be tools for opening up communication within families.
Although my expertise is in play therapy, I also have education and experience in other modalities. I draw from established techniques in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Trauma-Focused Therapy to supplement what I can offer to you and your family.
I want to help you in the way that is best for you. I want you to thrive.
Some teens are able to express themselves verbally. Others aren’t quite able to do so, yet. Either way, teens still benefit from the same techniques used in child play therapy. However, those techniques are adapted to suit their age and developmental level.
Teens may use drawing, painting, acting, poetry, and games to express themselves in the therapy setting.
Children and teens are all dealing with so many different stressors. In addition to all of the challenges of simply growing up, they now deal with emerging complications of the digital age. It’s overwhelming. They need a safe space to explore their identities, emotions, thoughts, and actions.
Teens, in particular, need a therapist who will allow them to fully express themselves in whatever ways they are best able to. Teen therapy is based on respect, non-judgment, and tolerance.
Children, teens, and young adults do not live alone. They live within families. As a result, families are greatly impacted whenever young ones have problems. I provide family therapy services to help the children as well as the adults.
Family therapy helps reduce arguments and conflict. It also helps families communicate better so that they can come together to problem solve.
Families come to therapy for many different reasons. Sometimes the problems are specific to the child. I work with families whose children have mental health issues, learning challenges, behavioral problems, and even chronic health issues including Type 1 Diabetes.
Other times, problems aren’t specific to the child but run throughout multiple relationships with the family. For example, your family may want help adjusting to changes in family structure caused by the birth or adoption of a new child, separation or divorce, remarriage and blended family issues, or the death of a family member. Families who have experienced trauma of any kind can benefit from therapy.
I grew up in Sydney Australia, where I lived a quiet life by the sea. Friends and family were always a big part of my easy going life. As a young woman, I spent my early mornings before work swimming in the surf at Bondi Beach but in 1998, I met a tall American and fell in love. I left my beloved Bondi Beach to move to Los Angeles and get married.