I have had many years of experience working with children and their families, beginning as an elementary school teacher, then as a School Psychologist, and finally as a Clinical Psychologist. I have been licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the past, and since 2000 I have been a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Missouri. In the course of my work, I have become very familiar with child development and with various problems that can arise. In recent years I have specialized in the treatment of children, age 11 and younger.
Some of the more common reasons that parents seek professional services for their children involve behavior and disciplinary issues such as impulsive or oppositional behavior, social/emotional developmental concerns, and persisting anxiety or mood problems. Among the most frequent reasons for referral are school adjustment or school behavior problems, often involving attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Situational adjustment problems such as parental divorce, are also a fairly common reason for parents to seek therapy for their children.
Approaches to psychological treatment of children vary, depending on the needs of the child, as well as the wishes of the parent, but therapy usually includes parent-child counseling, traditional play therapy, sand play therapy, or some combination of the three. Every child is unique and brings his or her own individuality to the therapy process, so treatment is always tailored to the needs of the child.
Fundamental to all types of treatment of children is the establishment of a strong relationship of trust, in the context of unconditional acceptance of the child by the therapist.
In the course of my work with children, I have learned great respect for their ability to understand their dilemmas and to find ways to resolve them, with the help of the therapist. Through play, children find ways to experience and express their inner needs and to heal them. Through discussion they are able to integrate these experiences and thus learn to accept themselves, while they make changes if needed. Through parent-child counseling, ideally, children’s inner experiences are shared and a genuine spirit of cooperation develops.
I have always found working with children to be a delight. It is very rewarding to participate in the process of their development and to share in their progress, as they find their way to a new vantage point in their world.