Adolescent, Child, Parenting and Family Counseling
Every family has its challenges. There is no perfect family, unless we see it in a movie and even then those families have issues; movies and reality television often depict some element of truth. I often hear a lot of shame coming from parents when their children or family is struggling and they don’t know what to do. Or they don’t have anyone to turn to. Family struggles is part of life.
Remember, we didn’t get an instruction book on how to do this, the best we can do is learn from one another, our mistakes and glean some knowledge from those who study family systems. As our society has changed over the years our resources have diminished in this area. Grandparents used to live down the road and parents would talk to older family members for advice, the family/village would help raise the child. Now we are very independent and sometimes fear embarrassment if we tell others our family is struggling. Please don’t suffer in silence, there is a lot we can do if we work together.
Family counseling (also called family therapy) is a professional relationship that is solely focused on the concerns and well-being of the family as a whole. Family counseling appointments may be with the entire family or with some family members. Counseling is used to enhance the relationships, family identity, communication skills, conflict resolution, and patterns and roles. A family may choose to pursue counseling services when they experience family problems, life difficulties, or transitions that are beyond their normal ability to cope. I take a family systems approach in this area to help families determine what challenges the system is having and how to introduce interventions for repair.
Family counseling may address concerns about:
- Death/loss of a family member
- Academic decline/issues
Therapy may mainly be with a child (age 11+), adolescent or the entire family dependent on issues and challenges.
Youth and Child Specialization
Youth and Child Specialization – not all therapists are specially trained to work with children and adolescents. As part of my training and continuing education, I have taken coursework to train to diagnose and treat children and adolescents, including advanced play therapy. For three years I worked as a Child and Family Counselor for the Wasco County Student Assistance Program, working with hundreds of children and youth in the Gorge around issues described above as well as trauma, anxiety, depression and more. In addition, I have ran groups for local schools to help build coping skills and self-esteem. I also spent time as a Youth Mental Health First Aid Facilitator, training adults how to notice mental health issues and guide youth to get the help they needed.
I have a passion for working with children and youth. I work with children age 11+. I believe, and research supports, the earlier we can help them build skills and treat mental health issues the stronger and more successful they will be in life.
I’ve spent years as a Cub Scout leader, soccer coach and WyldLife leader. I enjoy working with kids, have a lot of experience with them and well, was one too a time ago!