Being a parent isn’t easy. Being a child can also be a struggle. In our increasingly complex society, parents have more challenges than ever. You have ideas about being the “perfect” parent, and then life happens! You lose your patience and maybe a little of your sanity. As dedicated as you are to being a great parent, you may find yourself frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, and beginning to doubt yourself. This is common and it doesn’t have to remain this way. Sometimes a separation or divorce interferes with your ability to work together as a parenting team. Again, this is common. Children also have more challenges than ever. You see your child/ren suffering and feel powerless to help. Sometimes a little outside support, perspective, and direct training can make all the difference in the world. Depending on your circumstances, I will provide child/family therapy, parent coaching, or coparenting psychotherapy.
Typically, a child or adolescent's behavior is symbolic or representative of a larger, more troubling, problem within the family. Oftentimes, a child or adolescent’s behavior IS their words. Some things you might notice your child/ren struggling with are school demands, confusion about divorce or remarriage, anxiety, anger, depression, self-harm, social difficulties, and a variety of acting out behaviors. Therapy will encourage communication to take place in the session, which turns these symbolic behaviors into something that the rest of the family can understand, and therefore, begin to work with. Once the behaviors are translated into words, then the process of healing begins. Sometimes this process will occur by working with parents and child and sometimes just with the child.
In family sessions, we will explore family roles, rules and behavior patterns in order to spot systemic issues that contribute to the struggles. I will work with you to learn new ways to interact and overcome old problems. You'll set individual and family goals and work on ways to achieve them. Depending on the nature of the issues, Parent Coaching may be incorporated into the treatment plan.
Parent coaching is different from therapy. Therapy tends to focus on healing past emotional wounds and is oftentimes a much needed resource for a family when those wounds affect the functioning of your family. Parent coaching goes beyond therapy by helping a parent focus on finding and developing more effective strategies for parenting, both today and into the future. The focus in parent coaching is educational and skills based. The goal is to develop mindful parenting skills, gain clarity around developmental needs, set appropriate boundaries, and rediscover the joy in parenting. I will collaborate with parent(s) or caregiver(s) and, as appropriate, child(ren) to develop a parenting game plan that will best serve your family.
Some areas in which parent coaching may help are:
· How to raise your child without yelling, spanking, or nagging.
· How to raise your child’s self esteem.
· How to deal with temper tantrums.
· How to discipline with love, empathy, and appropriateness.
· How to stop your children from fighting.
· How to handle a teenager.
· How to teach children to be responsible.
Because the amount of conflict between parents during and after a divorce can have such negative impacts on all involved, especially children, it's wise to take steps to reduce that conflict. Children are known to show their distress during this time socially, academically and emotionally. Children are like sponges that absorb the conflict and chaos of their environments when their parents don't get along. Parents may witness regressive or rebellious behaviors, falling grades, difficulty with friends and loved ones, withdrawal, isolation, changes in sleep and appetite, depression or rage.
Co-Parenting psychotherapy is a respectful and structured process whereby I assist clients in having better relationships. It is never to be used as fuel for a litigated divorce. I will not compromise my relationships, take sides or otherwise be unfair. If domestic violence is a factor, I will work with each parent separately in order to maintain a sense of safety for both parties.
The aim is to reduce conflict, improved cooperation by improving communication, the development of negotiation skills, parenting education and support as well as to bring awareness to each home's structure, boundaries, expectation, consequences, follow through and consistency. Having support can make all the difference in being the best parent you can be, especially during difficult times.