Working With Children
Child psychotherapy shares the same theoretical understanding of psychological life
as adult psychotherapy, but it uses additional techniques to deal with the special capacities and vulnerabilities of children. For instance, in addition to verbally expressing his or her feelings and worries, the child may also use drawings, clay forms and fantasy play to communicate with the therapist. Play is an essential component of healthy child development. It is also a very natural form of communication and expression of thoughts and feelings for children. By joining the child in the pretend world of the play or the game, the therapist's interventions are less threatening and more likely to be effective. The goal of child therapy (and adolescent therapy) is to resolve the symptoms, change the behavior and, most importantly, remove the emotional blocks that were interfering with normal development.
The information parents provide initially regarding their child's development, as well as their feedback during the course of treatment, is essential to the success of therapy. To varying degrees, parents will play an integral role in their child's treatment, depending
on the child's age and the nature of the problem presented. The goal is to help parents become more effective in responding to or managing a particular child with a particular issue (such as dyslexia), or their children in general, whether during a particular situation affecting the whole family (such as divorce) or not.
Parenting Skills Training
Parenting Skills Training can be done within the framework of family therapy (parents and child or children together), couples therapy, or as part of individual psychotherapy of one of the parents, to address general parent-child interactions or focus on specific behavioral problems. During the course of child therapy I may decide to see the parents in addition to the child or instead of the child, either in couples therapy or in collateral sessions, to focus on their parenting skills and parenting style.
Child Psychological Testing
Numerous psychological tests have been developed by psychologists to measure various aspects of psychological functioning and of personality. Psychological testing may be requested by the school, the parents, or any other adult involved in the life of the child, to help make sense of a child's behavioral and/or academic difficulties. It provides a more in-depth understanding of the cognitive, emotional, academic, and neurological factors involved in any "symptomatic" picture presented by a child. An IQ test (i.e., a test that measures the intellectual functioning of the child, such as the WPPSI-III and the WISC-IV) can be required by some schools prior to admission. I provide bilingual psychological testing for children.