School age children
I provide individual and family therapy for school-aged children. This most often includes play, as play is one of best ways for children to process, explore, and express difficult thoughts and feelings. Play can take many forms, from board games and ball games to expressive activities that incorporate aspects of drama, music, and art. I work with children to help them find their language, improve their socialization and feelings of connectedness and belonging, and develop vital coping tools to help them self-regulate and cooperate. I bring a genuine playfulness and curiosity to my work with children, and delight in the creative language of play.
While no adult is truly fluent in “teenager”, I would like to think I’m at least conversational. “Teenager” is a complicated, often maddening, language rife with sarcasm, eye-rolls, and a load of hormonally-driven feelings. But underneath all the confusion and angst is a beautiful desire to connect, discover, and grow into adulthood. I enjoy helping teenagers explore healthy ways of expressing new ideas and find deeper connection with their family, friends, and the world. I’ve found that they usually find me relatable and easy to open up to.
Screen Use Problems
Screen use disorder is one of the most difficult challenges facing today’s children and teenagers. This is especially true as we begin to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Screen use is often accompanied by other challenges – tantrums, family screaming matches, isolation and poor socialization. It can be extremely challenging for parents to know what to do with a child who can’t seem to keep their eyes off the screen.
Screen overuse is often described as a chicken-and-egg situation – is the screen use causing other problems, or were there underlying issues that caused your child to disappear into their screens? In all likelihood, it’s a vicious feedback loop working both ways. That’s why I don’t just treat the symptom of problematic screen use, but work on the underlying issues as well. I find that parents often play some role in their child’s screen use, and so I will ask them to be active participants in the work. Solutions almost always require changes in the family system, rather than just in the child.
Because of the complex nature of screen use disorders, I combine behavioral interventions, family therapy, and strengths-based relational therapy to foster long-lasting change. There are no easily solutions. In rare cases behavioral interventions such as screen-time limits and parental reinforcement strategies may be enough. For most, though, it takes time to find new passions and learn healthy alternatives.
I am committed to creating healthy, long-lasting change and helping my screen-challenged clients find new ways of navigating the modern world.
Parents often come to therapy hoping I will “fix” their child. Sadly, there is no magic button to make problems disappear. I almost always encourage parents to be active participants in the therapy since children aren’t raised in isolation. Family therapy is hard work, and often requires all family members to identify the roles they play in family conflicts and to address deeply-embedded patterns and dynamics. These patterns typically reside in the family system or even derive from multi-generational layers of interpersonal traumas. Family therapy can be a vital way for families to learn to communicate, listen, and ultimately build strong foundations of love, trust, intimacy and play.
Adulthood can be difficult during any era, but COVID has left many of us feeling isolated, anxious, depressed, or just plain stuck. Whether you’re looking for a therapist for general reasons or looking to navigate a specific life challenge, I am committed to helping you along your mental health journey. Most of my work with adults centers on traditional talk therapy — but not always. Sometimes, when clients are having trouble unlocking a hidden part of themselves, alternative forms of expression can be a helpful add-on.This can take many forms, including exploratory writing, expressive art activities, expressive drama therapy, or even just a walk on the woods. I find that many adults are surprised by what they uncover when they open themselves up to fresh avenues of discovery.
Healthy Masculine Identity Development (The Opposite of Toxic Masculinity)
As one of 12 males in my graduate school class of nearly 70, I recognized the unique position I was going to be in when I graduated, which is why I focused so much of training on working with boys and men of all ages and from all walks of life. I understand, on both a personal and professional levels, the unique pressures boys and men face in today’s world. We have been told our whole lives that we need to “man up” and that “crying is for girls”. Through these messages, we learn that feelings (except for anger), are unmanly and a sign of weakness.
On the contrary, I believe that strength in boys and men comes from authenticity, which can entail vulnerability. When I work with boys and men, I strive to help them better understand their masculinity and expand their capacity for healthy emotional expression.
Having a disability can be a daunting challenge for clients of all ages, but can be particularly tough for children and teenagers for whom pressures to fit in are often at their greatest. I approach clients with disabilities from a strength-based perspective, helping them understand and accept their differences while also learning to see the beauty and strength in their uniqueness. I work with children with physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, learning differences, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and other challenges.