Helpful Information and Resources

If you’re looking to learn more about various topics related to the therapy, then you’ve come to the right place. I provide a variety of psychology-related resources for your reading and learning pleasure, covering a broad range of subjects in the field. Browse through the resources below, and get in touch with any questions or requests you may have.

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Prepare Your Child

“You Can’t Make Me Go!”

 

Ten Tips on How to Talk to Children and Adolescents About Coming to Therapy.

Children rarely decide to seek therapy independently or request to see a psychologist on their own. Instead, parents are frequently in the difficult position of trying to explain to their child why it is time to see a therapist. Despite the fact that seeing a psychologist has become increasingly common over the years, many children and teenagers continue to believe that psychologists are for “crazy people,” or are anxious about the process.

 

Unfortunately, parents often fear their child’s discomfort and opposition to treatment and the conflict and negative emotions that introducing this topic may breed. Parents can be unsure how to proceed when their child responds to the idea of psychological treatment with anxiety or worse, such as the dreaded, “You can’t make me go!”

To help with this difficult process for parents, the following are some strategies for how to talk to your child about coming to therapy:

  1. Be honest. Some parents are tempted to tell their children that they are going to a friend’s house, to pick up dinner, or to get ice cream in order to avoid the discussion of starting therapy. As you would expect, however, honesty is always the best policy in this situation. When children or adolescents arrive at the therapist’s office only to realize that they were misled, they will be much more likely to be angry and distrustful of the process. It will be important to talk to your child not only about coming to therapy, but why you think it is important, and your goals for treatment. Unfortunately, many children and teenagers come to their first session and have no idea why they are there. Setting a tone of openness and honesty right from the start will be an important part of creating a positive therapeutic experience.

  2. ​Listen to your child’s concerns. Often parents can become so consumed by their child’s need to see a therapist that they forget to listen to the child’s worries about the process. Instead, adults become intent on just “getting them there.” Simply knowing that his/her concerns have been heard can significantly reduce your child’s anxiety about the first visit. Also, it will allow you to answer some questions that may make your child feel more comfortable. For example, many children wonder, “What if I do not like my therapist?” “What will I be asked to do?” or “How long will I need to go?”

  3. “You’re miserable, let’s do something about it.” The decision to see a psychologist frequently comes after experiencing significant frustration, anger, conflict, sadness, or anxiety. Children, just as adults, do not enjoy these negative emotions. Often appealing to their distress and the hope of distress relief, allows them to see a therapist as a way of feeling better. Our therapists will frequently say to children, “I know that you could be happier and that life is not pleasant right now. I think I may be able to help things feel better and go smoother at home/school. We can’t continue with life feeling this hard and frustrating.”

  4. Allow your child to feel a sense of control. Children often feel entirely out of control when they are told they must see a psychologist. Can you imagine if someone told you as an adult that you must see a therapist against your will? As such, it is important to give your child control in ways that are appropriate. For example, you may allow your child to decide if he/she likes his therapist or if he/she would like to choose another clinician, or if he/she would like to participate for part of the session and his/her parent participate in the other part. Of course, only give your child control over the issues that may be flexible. Frequently, if children or adolescents come to the office just once they will realize it is not as aversive as they imagined.

  5. Psychologists are for everyone. One of the most common misconceptions among children and adolescents about psychologists is that we only treat “crazy people.” On a first visit many children will say, “I’m not crazy so I have no idea why I am here,” or “I don’t understand why I am here and my crazy friend, X, is not.” Even parents sometimes fear that taking their child to the psychologist will make their child believe that there is “something wrong with them.” Our therapists respond to these concerns by letting children and teenagers know that we do not see “crazy,” people and that in fact, psychologists are for everyone. Because children do not generally talk about visits to their therapists with their peers, they often feel like they are the only one in their class or among their friends who needs to see a therapist. It is important that adults normalize the experience of going to a psychologist and let their children know that although children and adolescents tend to keep visits to the therapist private, many people see psychologists to help better manage issues that emerge for us all.

  6. Explain what will happen at the psychologist’s office. Going to a therapist’s office may feel like going to a foreign country for children and adolescents. They do not know what to expect, what will be asked of them, how long the session will last, if they will be alone with the therapist or have your support during the meeting, among many other unknowns. This uncertainty can create or increase anxiety. It will be important to get a sense of what that first meeting will be like when setting up your appointment so that you can offer as much information to your child or teenager as possible. Once some of the unknowns are known, the process may feel a bit less threatening for children.

  7. Liken the process to a medical concern. Most children and teens would offer little resistance if you wanted them to see a doctor after breaking an arm, suffering with the flu, or having an allergic reaction. If you liken the process of going to a psychologist to that of having a medical concern or seeking the help of a medical doctor, it may be easier for some children to understand the utility of therapy. In the same way that someone would see a dentist for a cavity or a dermatologist for a rash, it is sometimes necessary to see a psychologist for emotional, behavioral, or family issues.

  8. Relate to your child or teenager. When appropriate and applicable, explain a time when you saw a psychologist or sought therapy in the past and how it was helpful to you. This kind of disclosure can again help to normalize the experience of seeing a psychologist. Of course, care must be taken to share this information with your child in a way that is not overwhelming to them or inappropriate, but rather comforting and supportive.

  9. Make therapy time more pleasant. It is sometimes possible to pair therapy with some one-on-one time with a parent or another pleasant activity for a child or adolescent. Following therapy with a dinner out, shopping time with mom, or a movie can be highly rewarding for many children and may make the process of coming to therapy more pleasant.

  10. Let them know the therapist is on their side. Children will occasionally view a psychologist as working against them or with the goals of their parents or teachers in mind. Sometimes reminding children that the therapist is on their side and working to help make life better for them, helps them to see the psychologist as their advocate and not their enemy.

 

It is very important to our therapists that you and your child are comfortable as possible throughout the therapy process. Please do not hesitate to let your therapist know if there is anything we can do to put you and your child more at ease.

Drawing Face

How To Get The Most Out Of Therapy

1. Make a list of your goals for therapy

Writing out your goals can help you define what you want to accomplish in therapy and make sure that your therapy stays on track. You can modify your goals as time goes on, and you can easily monitor your progress. When sitting down to write your goals, ask yourself, “At the end of therapy, how do I want to think differently, feel differently, and behave differently?” Try to visualize your goals and be as detailed as possible. For example, if one of your goals is to be less anxious, ask yourself, “How will I know if I am less anxious? What will be different if I am less anxious?”

2. Bring a notebook to sessions

Many clients find it helpful to bring a notebook to each therapy session. You can write your therapy goals, as well as the highlights from your session that you would like to think more about. At the end of therapy, your notebook can serve as your own personal self help book that you can refer to in the future at any time.

3. Give some thought to the session agenda.

 

You should feel confident that your session time is being utilized in a way that will maximize your gains. Before you come to your session, think about what you would like to put on the agenda. Is there a specific problem you would like to discuss? Is there an issue you would like to talk about in greater detail? Did you work on something in relation to your treatment goals that you would like feedback on? Because the nature of Cognitive Therapy is collaborative, your therapist will suggest items for the agenda as well and together you will decide what to focus on in the session.

4. Ask your therapist for readings to supplement your therapy

Books and workbooks can often serve as a useful adjunct to your therapy. There are some suggested readings on our website and you can always ask your therapist for book recommendations as well.

 

5. Give your therapist feedback.

I'm committed to working with you to the best of my ability. I appreciate and welcome feedback about your therapy experience, particularly while you are in treatment. Be sure to let me know what is and isn’t working for you. If you have any concerns at any point with the course of treatment, please do not hesitate to speak candidly to your therapist. It is very important to me that you are comfortable working with your therapist and that you feel that your treatment is going in the direction you wish.​

Child Activity

Is Individual Therapy Right for You?

People often ask themselves whether therapy is right for them. Sometimes others in our lives see the need before we do. It’s never too late – or too early – to get support. Here are some of the things that Individual Therapy can help you with:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Tic Disorder

  • Hair Pulling

  • Transitions or life changes

  • Grief and loss

  • Low self-esteem

  • Feeding or eating disorders

  • Difficulty regulating emotions

  • Struggles with interpersonal relationships

  • Anger issues

  • Financial stress

  • Addiction

  • Recovery from trauma

  • Issues with sex and intimacy

  • Thoughts of suicide or  self-harm

  • Job stress or academic struggles

  • Overcoming codependency

  • Recurring life issues that are difficult to change

  • The need for a safe space to process difficult memories and life experiences

  • A desire to work through underlying personal issues that have emerged from couples, group, or family therapy

Girl in Therapy

What is CBT

CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is a proven, skills-based treatment approach for addressing anxiety, depression, and a wide variety of other clinical issues. CBT emphasizes collaboration between therapist and client and teaches skills directly related to the client’s goals.

Making Notes

What is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)?

TF-CBT is a conjoint child and parent psychotherapy approach for children and adolescents who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic life events.  It is a components-based treatment model that incorporates trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles and techniques.  Children and parents learn new skills to help process thoughts and feelings related to traumatic life events; manage and resolve distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related traumatic life events; and enhance safety, growth, parenting skills, and family communication.


TF-CBT has proved successful with children and adolescents (ages 3 to 18) who have significant emotional problems (e.g., symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, fear, anxiety, or depression) related to traumatic life events.  This treatment can be used with children and adolescents who have experienced a single trauma or multiple traumas in their life.

Children or adolescents experiencing traumatic grief can also benefit from this treatment.

TF-CBT is designed to be a relatively short-term treatment, typically lasting 12 to 16 sessions.  Over 80 percent of traumatized children who receive TF-CBT experience significant improvement after 12 to 16 weeks of treatment.  Treatment may be provided for longer periods depending upon individual child and family needs.


TF-CBT can be used as part of a larger treatment plan for children with complex difficulties.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is the most well-supported and effective treatment for children who have been abused and traumatized. Multiple clinical research studies consistently have found it to help children with PTSD and other trauma-related problems, and it has been rated a Model Program and Best Practice for use with abused and traumatized children. TF-CBT currently is being used successfully in community service agencies across the country.
TF-CBT has proven to be effective in addressing posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, externalizing behaviors, sexualized behaviors, feelings of shame, and mistrust.  The parental component increases the positive effects for children by reducing parents' own levels of depression and emotional distress about their children's abuse and improving parenting practices and support of their child.

TF-CBT was rated a "1-Well-supported, efficacious treatment", the highest level of empirical support in the U.S. Department of Justice sponsored report Child Physical and Sexual Abuse: Guidelines for Treatment.

Couples Therapy

What is Attachment-Focused Treatment (Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy): 

Loving, healthy, supportive, safe, and secure parent-child relationships are central to DDP.  It is an approach that has extensive empirical support for the treatment of adoption-related issues, trauma, and attachment disorders among foster and adopted children.  The focus of treatment is to remediate the children’s past experiences of absent, neglectful, or abusive caregivers.

DDP facilitates the child’s experience of being understood and accepted unconditionally by their adoptive or foster parents, in order to develop their ability to cope more effectively with stressful feelings and to deepen their capacity to form close relationships.

 

Treatment begins with helping parents implement attachment-focused parenting.  Once this phase is completed,   both parent and child are present in the session so that there are more opportunities to directly address the relationship. The emphasis is on creating experiences that are therapeutic for both parents and child by choosing emotionally and developmentally appropriate goals instead of expressing disappointment and anger about what the child “should” be able to do. A playful, safe, accepting, curious, and empathic environment is created to explore tough topics that are often avoided, like shameful feelings about “bad” behavior or episodes of past neglect or abuse.