Family Therapy & Parenting Support
Some child behavior issues stem from family dynamics and the quality of relationships between family members (parents and siblings). When, in my assessment, a child’s behavior is not the result of individual fears or losses but the ongoing difficulty in successfully navigating family relationships, I suggest family therapy as the main modality of treatment.
In family therapy, the people attending the sessions are the child and the parents, or siblings.
Family Sessions with Parents
Techniques to guide the child and parents towards more positive and satisfying interactions include:
All these can be practiced at home after learning in session how to do them. The most important thing in a family session is to understand everyone’s needs and find more adaptive ways to get these needs met.
When the main difficulty is patterns of interaction between siblings, I offer sibling sessions. These sessions bring to focus expectation, communication, and other behavior (including manipulation, aggression) that causes dissatisfaction and stress in the interactions between siblings (and of course stress to the parents who are asked to intervene on behalf of one sibling or another).
I help by identifying what needs are not being met, or are attempted to be met using poor strategies (whining, hitting, grabbing and breaking toys, name calling). Then I solicit both children’s input into other ways to meet their needs, and help them practice new ways of interacting. I also suggest to parents ways to support new ways of interaction and ways to avoid scapegoating one child and appearing to use favoritism.
This is not a separate service but integrated into the individual work with the child(ren).
I’m also available between sessions to address concerns about behavior, crises, and urgent questions that can’t wait. Please ask me for my policies about how these in-between session updates are covered.
How Does Confidentiality Work with This Age?
For children and adolescents to feel comfortable revealing private information, they need a safe place to communicate about anything they'd like, without fear of that information leaving the room. Yet parents can feel left out and worried when they are told nothing about what happens in the room.
What I say to parents is this: without breaking confidentiality, I will tell you the general theme of what we are working on, and I will encourage the child to share with you challenges and solutions we’ve come up with. I ask young children and teens what they are willing to share with the parents and address worries about sharing any particular information. I might try to mitigate worries, but ultimately I respect the child’s decision.
How do I begin?
Call or email to inquire about booking a session.
Why can’t I schedule a full session, only a phone call?
Existing clients can use the client portal to schedule any type of session during available hours. Prospective clients can only schedule a call to inquire about setting up a first session. Before scheduling a first session, we want to see if I am the right therapist for you. A good fit between client and the type of issues the therapist can treat is crucial to the success of treatment. The purpose of the initial call is to see whether we should book the first session. It is not a free consultation. Case material will be discussed on the first session.
Also, during the initial call, I will address medical insurance. If I cannot address your therapy needs or if you need to use in-network insurance, we will not book a session.