Child & Adolescent

Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis:

Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic treatment helps the child or adolescent understand and manage feelings more effectively; recognize and change poor coping strategies; and re-examine negative feelings about him/ herself and others. My goal of treatment is not simply to overcome immediate troubles but to help each child or adolescent reach his or her full potential in all areas of life and to build deep, long-lasting strength and resilience.

The first thing I do is to build a strong, trusting relationship with my patient and to become a partner with the child or adolescent and my patient’s family in understanding the child’s struggles and capabilities. In undertaking this process I rely heavily on work with the parents and do so during every phase of the treatment. In addition to helping the child or adolescent return to the path of normal, healthy development, I aim to strengthen and restore the relationship between my patient and his/her parents.

In addition to my academic doctoral training as a mental health professional I have had extensive post-doctoral training in understanding child development and how a child or adolescent’s mind works. By virtue of my training and experience I am particularly sensitive to the multiple (including biological, genetic, neurological, familial, and social) factors that influence a child’s or adolescent’s personality development. I am always mindful of the importance of developing an understanding of the complex interaction of all these factors in determining each patient’s unique developmental trajectory and establishing an individualized treatment plan specifically tailored for each patient.

Areas Of Expertise:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Separation Anxiety and Fearfulness

  • Sleepiness and Nightmares

  • Night terrors or sleepwalking

  • Excessive sadness or depression

  • History of neglect or abuse (emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse)

  • Extreme aggression

  • Oppositional Defiant Behaviors or Disorders

  • Disturbances in conduct

  • Excessive sibling rivalry

  • School Readiness

  • Aggressive behaviors at school

  • Compulsive thinking or rituals

  • Inattentiveness and disinterest in learning

  • Educational issues

  • Excessive shyness and separation problems

  • Social development and preparedness for school

  • Eating disorders

  • Emotional disturbance

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Working With Children:

I have worked with children throughout my career. I utilize play therapy as an important component of the specialized child psychoanalytic training process that enables me to develop a relationship with the child. Through play the child (often non-verbally) in a non-threatening way can demonstrate recurring issues. In this manner the child leads and creates the content of our sessions. And through this process I can and do develop an understanding of the thoughts and feelings that the child is communicating. As the child plays, I look for and find the underlying meaning of the content of the play and its relation to the presenting issues. It is at that point that I am able to help the child realize and understand those underlying issues.

Play therapy may include the participation of the child’s parents. Using the comfortable vehicle of the play area, I can demonstrate the child’s issues for the parents. This exercise enables the child to feel accurately understood. Parental involvement provides parents with practical methods to use in dealing with problematic behavior at home. The troublesome behavior(s) can thus be reduced in occurrence and intensity.

Play therapy is usually conducted two to four times a week in sessions of about 45 min. each. The length of treatment may range from 6 months (minor adjustment problems) to 2 years or more depending on a variety of factors including symptoms. As an analyst I also coordinate with school teachers and other professionals who relate to the child. Again, working with the parents we can reduce behavioral issues at school and develop an awareness by all relevant of the child’s emotional issues, enabling all to support appropriate emotional changes.

Working With Adolescents:

Parents often recognize a palpable change in their relationship with their youngster as adolescence approaches. The younger child frequently thinks in terms of “super heroes” or other ideals; the adolescent, however, comes to recognize that ideals are a goal, not a reality. This change can lead to a great sense of loss. Adolescents without the prerequisite skills or strengths to face the changes in themselves, the increased complexity of their relationships, their altered outlooks on their expanding world – including their increasing responsibilities – will run into conflict which can result in social withdrawal, academic problems, self-harm, fighting, and other kinds of acting out. If this does occur, I am available as a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist to consult with both the adolescent and his/her parents to try to understand what will be helpful in getting the adolescent on track.

Adolescent treatment generally takes place face to face and I talk with the teen about what he or she is passionate. We meet a few times a week. Learning is more durable and efficient with consistency and frequency — the reason, for example, that youngsters attend school five days a week. Moreover, teen’s have the need to be back on track as soon as possible in order to moderate the distress experienced by the patient in feeling different and isolated from his/her peers. Success in psychoanalysis is measured in the capacity to think about oneself in a realistic way and to express oneself in words in a way that promotes self-regulation, connection and self protection.

As noted above, parents are an important source of information about the difficulties with which their adolescent is struggling. I can help parents think about the typical developmental tasks that teens need to master. Teaming with parents I can integrate the parents’ knowledge about their child and my knowledge about how the unconscious mind works. Together we can craft a narrative that accurately describes the complexity of the internal struggles the teen is facing, and this is instrumental in helping

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From “Adapting” To “Adoption”:

Adolescents And Communication In The Modern Day

With the increase in technology and a pandemic keeping us stuck at home, adolescents and children are now, more then ever, reliant on technology for school, fun, and socialization. However, while this “artificial social interaction” might feel like the real thing, proper communication skills of adolescents are on the decline. Communication, especially during this time, is vital for parents and may require more effort then before. Establishing better communication skills involves patience and persistence on the part of the parent. Some tips we recommend for parents include:

  1. Shared meal times - While eating all three meals as a family may be the most beneficial, we know that it might be impossible. Attempt to eat a meal together at least once a day, or establish a routine shared meal time sometime in the week (ex. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Dinners)

  2. Family activities - Whether that be through family outings to the grocery store or a Friday night board game.

  3. Attempt to limit excess screen/social media time - Phones, especially during designated school time, should be turned “off” and left in a different room (if they provide too much distraction)

    While it might take time to apply all of these suggestions into routine, we know that while at first you might be “adapting” to our new circumstances, eventually you’ll “adopt” these skills and improve your communication with your adolescent, pandemic or not.

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Parenting: Reward And Discipline

Telling parents what they should or should not do is difficult, because each one decides what they want for their children. We all have our own personal experiences in their parenting models and in what each one has lived and wants for their children. However, it is important as parents to visualize the future child you want to have, and to work for it. Positive and firm language, without blackmail or punishment, makes a big difference. Feeling taken into account, understood, respected, and valued is important in raising our children. I hope it helps you in some way to understand the disadvantages of approaching a parenting model based on rewards and punishments. Draw your own conclusions. For any advice for individual cases contact me!

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