Services for Children, Adolescents, and Families
I work with a wide variety of problems in children and adolescents including ADHD, anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders, oppositional defiant disorders, response to divorce, medical conditions and other family problems. I do not work with children or adolescents in which substance abuse is a significant problem.
In addition, three specialty areas that I offer are:
1. Psychological Consultation for Challenging Emotional and Behavioral Problems of Children and Teens
I often work with parents in uniquely difficult situations whose only parenting tool is a book offering vague solutions. However, in these stressful and complicated situations, a simple parental platitude such as "pick your battles" is not specific enough to say which battles to pick or how to handle these difficult parenting situations. What is needed is an objective but personalized consultation that provides specific feedback based on a child's particular strengths and weaknesses. In this way we take into account the whole child including his or her particular family situation and specific school needs.
It has always been my position that the best diagnosis of a child/teen is the child's actual name because the child's name is the label which most completely describes him or her, including all strengths and weaknesses. Psychiatric diagnoses are limited because they highlight specific problems or weaknesses. Therefore, I use psychiatric diagnoses conservatively, striving to comprehensively emphasize the child's individuality.
Many parents come to me with guilt or self-blame. Self-blame always puts the person on the defensive, saps strength, and limits creative solutions. In fact, studies have shown that negative child behavior is more likely to create negative parent behavior than negative parent behavior creates negative child behavior. One of my first goals in the therapeutic process is to quickly move beyond blaming so that the family can find constructive ways to move towards healing.
2. Assessment of ADD/ADHD
ADHD is present in about 5% of children. I believe that today children are both overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Children who are truly not ADD/ADHD have been given a false diagnosis and children who clearly have all the symptoms are often underdiagnosed. The solution to these misdiagnosis involves a careful evaluation that includes the perspectives of both parent and teacher.
3. Psychological Services to Parents of Adolescents Through my Parenting Group "Parenting Adolescents: Tools, Tips And Traps"
Being a parent of a teen isn't easy, but parents still have a great potential to positively influence their adolescent. This four-session workshop is geared to providing parents with hands-on techniques, which will be immediately useable.
Topics to be covered include:
Reviewing the developmental tasks of adolescence;
Using a family decision-making model to clarify parenting strategies;
Identifying & interrupting negative patterns in the family;
Setting appropriate rules and consequences for adolescents.
Services for Adults and Couples
I work with a wide variety of problems that confront adults including anxiety, depression, ADHD, and adjustment issues. I also work with a wide variety of problems that confront couples including communication issues and anger management. I do not treat substance abuse disorders, significant psychiatric disorders, or personality disorders.
Here are some general thoughts about how I work:
I believe the essence of good therapy involves a therapeutic conversation that allows a person to confide their fears and difficulties while clarifying their goals and aspirations. My job is to facilitate that conversation. Therapists differ widely in style. Some therapists are directive and confrontative while other therapists act like a blank slate and say little. My therapeutic style is a balance between carefully listening while also providing feedback with specific suggestions.
Real change needs to occur in the person's life not just in the therapy office.
The choice to attend therapy is a manifestation of a person's or couple's commitment to change that reveals itself in many ways. In my first session, I often find that people are already making positive changes in their life. Sometimes my job is to point out the things they are already doing better.
Human life is complex. Numerous factors can lead to success or failure. In my work I often find people are always looking for the one thing they are doing wrong or the one thing they need to do right. My job is often to help people appreciate the many aspects of the problem as well as the multiple paths towards growth.