Parents who contact us often feel very badly about what’s going on at home and want things to be better. They suspect that their children’s behaviors are beyond the boundaries of “normal” and they often blame themselves or each other. If only they had been a “better” mother or father, this wouldn’t have happened. Worst of all, they feel helpless—helpless and frustrated as they’ve tried doing things differently but nothing seems to work.
The children and adolescents whom we serve have a wide variety of difficulties from eating and sleeping troubles to being fearful and worrying constantly about all sorts of things. Some won’t listen and are defiant to authority figures. School problems include refusal to attend and underachievement. Some lose their tempers and get into verbal and/or physical fights with peers, teachers, parents. Others are unable to concentrate, sit still, or attend to their schoolwork, with teachers expressing concerns about hyperactivity. Many don’t have friends and feel very lonely. Some are depressed and show little interest in anything. They may even be potentially harmful to themselves or others. One thing is for sure, all are unhappy and often feel hopeless.
Stresses may come from inside or outside. Bodily changes at puberty may cause considerable anxiety. Medical problems, death, and divorce may affect their ability to cope with daily life. Past physical, sexual, and emotional traumas may never have been resolved, leaving worries that interfere with current functioning, to name just a few.
It’s sometimes very hard for parents to make that initial call for help, but once we’re contacted, they, as well as their children, often feel greatly relieved to meet with a professional and discuss their situation—what’s happening and what might be helpful.
How Change is Achieved
We believe that understanding and helping children with their feelings is the key to making substantive, lasting behavioral changes. During individual psychotherapy, we gently make children aware of self-defeating behaviors, then explore the feelings underneath. Very sensitive to children’s feelings, we approach the work in “bearable bits” with the length of the therapeutic process dependent upon the needs of each individual child.
After a few exploratory sessions with the parents and the child, we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. Then we meet with the parents and we discuss how to proceed. Might psychotherapy be helpful? If so, how often? Psychotherapy ranges from one session per week to several, depending on the age of the child and the nature of his/her problem(s).
Services to Parents
For children under the age of five, we work closely with the parents to help them know how to best assist their child. Developmental guidance is also available for parents with children of all ages. Regularly scheduled parenting sessions are essential when children are in psychotherapy, as we must work together in an effort to assist the child. During all these sessions, my goal is to assist parents in understanding their children’s difficulties and intervening in a helpful way.
When should you contact us and how?
You should contact us if your child’s troubles are interfering with his/her daily activities; others are being negatively affected by his/her behavior; and if you need help in helping your child.
Call Victoria Todd at (440) 835-5770, Kenna Mycek at (216) 534-0907 or fill out our online form.
Fees and health insurance coverage will be discussed during our initial appointment.