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Helping children build self-esteem and resiliency through a strength-based approach to child therapy

As a child therapist, I know how important it is for children to have a secure sense of self. During elementary school years, a child’s positive self-concept and sense of competency can be built upon success in school, making friends, and doing well in extracurricular activities. Difficulties in these areas can lead to lower self-esteem, which can impact a child’s ability to thrive across settings and can result in behavioral, emotional, and social challenges. With use of positive coping skills, children can gain the confidence and resiliency needed to move beyond obstacles toward their goals. As a mental health therapist, I focus on approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy and narrative therapy. I find this combination works well as children feel empowered to challenge negative perspectives and break free from problem-saturated stories keeping them stuck. I also use art therapy and play therapy in my sessions to provide a familiar means of expression, create safety, and encourage children to share feelings and find solutions.

Increasing children's confidence to manage emotional challenges and complex social interactions through reinforcement of their unique knowledges and abilities

With my specialization in child therapy, I am very familiar with the way helplessness and negative self-concept can result when children are faced with sadness, anxiety, or intense anger they cannot control. When emotionally overwhelmed, it can be difficult to process and express complex feelings or resolve conflict with peers and family members in a positive way. Sometimes a negative view of themselves and their world becomes a barrier to socializing with others and engaging in the activities they value and enjoy.

I can support your child in resolving emotional and social conflict. Through creative collaboration, we work together to develop a specialized tool box of coping skills that can be used to create positive change. These can include asking for help when needed, effectively processing and sharing feelings, challenging negative thinking with positive self-talk, and learning strategies to manage strong emotions and reign in impulsive behaviors. To help overcome difficult relationships with peers, children might need increased confidence to self-advocate, or to practice specific social skills in order to develop more meaningful friendships and overcome conflicts. Throughout the therapy process, I reinforce and highlight the inherent strengths already present within your child, in order to increase problem solving capacities and the self-assurance to accomplish desired goals. When there is an ongoing focus on children’s unique and special knowledges and abilities, children thrive and begin to use these resources to create a new preferred story for themselves.

A collaborative approach to addressing behavioral concerns for younger children

As a behavioral therapist, I use my training and experience to implement positive reinforcement strategies for younger children. Behavioral therapy can be needed when a child has ongoing struggles following directions, acting out behaviors are common, and negative attention seeking behaviors become the norm. A child’s unresolved frustration and anger can result in aggression toward others, destructive behaviors, and challenges with conflict resolution. Children’s acting out can signify an underlying emotional issue such as anxiety or sadness, to be explored once immediate behavioral concerns have been addressed. Effective anger management strategies to help a child decrease distress and calm down independently can increase a sense of competency, and assist in a child’s ability to solve problems with an improved outcome.

I provide tools for both you and your child in order to more effectively manage challenging tantrum behavior and help decrease resistance to participation in necessary tasks. For example, together we can create an individualized behavior chart that resonates with your child’s interests to increase his or her motivation in the process. We can then find the most manageable way to implement a behavior plan well-suited for your child and family’s needs. Strengthening parenting techniques go hand in hand with your child’s individual therapy treatment. I will work with you to choose the most beneficial approach.

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