Adolescence is an exciting time in the development of a child’s life. It can also be one of the most difficult times for a parent and child to navigate. The rapid social, emotional, and physical growth from childhood to adulthood is astounding. Families are left to manage all of the challenges that occur during adolescence on their own. Therapy can address the deeper dynamics, behaviors, and concerns that contribute to the healthy development of your child.Whether your teen has a diagnosed disorder or you’ve noticed an emotional shift that concerns you, teens often benefit from strengthening emotional regulation skills and to develop healthy mutual relationship to work through troubled moments. One of the greatest skills to be learned in childhood is to be able to get through the hard moments in life. Adolescent years are hard. If your child is suffering through it, this is a good indication that they need further support to manage the ups and downs with what the future holds.
I have concerns for my child, socially, emotionally, and/or behaviorally.
As a parent and an adolescent therapist, I fully understand all of the emotions that can boil up when worried for your child’s success and happiness. You may be reading this because your child:
- Is struggling emotionally with anxiety or depression and has dark thoughts.
- Is overwhelmed easily, pushes self to overachieve in school, sports, and friendships. Is compliant, has difficulty saying no to others and is a pleaser, but can’t live up to the perfection they have created.
- Acts out with drugs, sex, cutting behavior, eating concerns, missing curfew, or is disrespectful and difficult to parent.
- Is having trouble socially, either making or keeping friends.
- Is having trouble academically, even though they are bright.
- Is going through a parental separation or divorce.
- May have an IEP or 504 plan and need additional social emotional support and guidance.
How will therapy help my child?
Our social and emotional development affects every aspect of our lives and drives our behaviors. We provide our children with education and activities to create a bright future. However, we don’t offer formal training in this area until problems start to arise and we notice a difference in their feelings or behaviors. In working with a therapist a child can hone the skills necessary to be successful in resolving social conflicts, and balance out needs in the relationship by showing appreciation and gratitude. Additionally, they will learn how to managing their emotions so that they can calmly ask for their needs to be met, verses holding it inside or exploding in anger.We will discuss strategies and skills along the way for your child to feel successful in all areas of their life, but this must first start with a strong social emotional ability. A person can be academically successful and still be an unhappy person; however a happy person who struggles academically tolerates their challenges and are typically more motivated to work towards their academic potential. Therapy focuses on the skills to develop a well-rounded person. It takes a village to raise children. I hope to be a part of yours.
Why choose Bess over all the other therapists?
Choosing the right therapist for your child is a very important decision. The “right” therapist is different for every person. Ideally there will be a true connection for therapy to be helpful. I’ve dedicated my life’s work specializing in children.I’ve obtained an endorsement from the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental health organization, honoring me with a rare and prestigious certificate that describes the extra years of training I’ve dedicated myself to beyond the basic requirements for licensing as a child therapist. I am truly fascinated in learning all aspects of supporting the social and emotional growth for children. I will continue to learn, because working with children is what I love to do most.
What do I tell my child about going to see a therapist?
Many teens enjoy coming to therapy and are ready and willing. Other teens are hesitant not sure what to expect. Discussing some they may feel concerned about their privacy being exposed in talking to an adult. Reassuring a teen that all of their communication with a therapist is confidential, even in regard to their parents unless they are in danger will greatly encourage a teen to be open to at least meeting with a therapist a few sessions to test the situation.Teens are desperate to confide in someone to sort out their feelings. They turn to their friends so that it doesn’t get back to their parents. I provide a safe and private space for an adolescent to share all of their successes and misdoings without the fear of judgment, rejection, or misguided advice from a peer.
I will always keep their best interest in mind and will not condone harmful behavior, however a therapist is not an extension of a parent and therefore adolescent quickly come to realize what a gift therapy can be for them. They can confide in their therapist without the risks of consequence from their parent or misguided information from their peers.
You may still have questions about the therapeutic process:
- My child doesn’t want to go to therapy; won’t it make things worse if I force them to go?
I trust that you know your child well and know whether or not what your child is going through is a phase that will pass on its own or is a more concerning issue that the support of a therapist is important. Children want to feel good and happy, just as you want them to. I always suggest meeting with parents first to make sure I’m a good fit for your child, as well as gather a history, along with your concerns. Between your expertise of your child and my psychological understanding of children, I believe together we can help your child. If therapy isn’t the answer, there are other options parents don’t always know about and I would be happy to direct you in those ways if they would be helpful for your child.
- Our schedule is very impacted, how will we add one more thing?
I do try my best to work out a schedule that will work for your family. With a little flexibility on both our parts, the schedule tends to work out. Since I primarily work with children and families my schedule evolves frequently, meaning spots open up when children’s activities change throughout the year, they may move to a different appointment time, often freeing up a time that a new family prefers. With that said, consistency and commitment to therapy is important for a good outcome. I work Tuesday – Friday and afterschool appointments tend to fill up quickly. If my schedule cannot accommodate you, I will do my best to place you with a trusted therapist.
- Can I afford therapy?
This answer is different for every family; however with your consent I am happy to bill your mental health insurance as an out-of-network provider for you as long as it is a PPO plan. This typically works well, only being responsible for the coinsurance or copay amount. There are some insurance plans that have high deductibles, low reimbursement rates, or does not cover certain diagnostic codes that could make the cost of therapy difficult to manage. I’m happy to check into your insurance benefits for you, and with that information you can make an informed decision about seeing me, or possible going with an in-network-provider on your plan.
- This is informative, but I’d like to speak to a real person about my concerns.
It’s best to call me to discuss your specific concerns. I typically return non-urgent calls within the same day you leave a message, unless it is on a weekend or holiday. I recommend leaving a message with some good times to call you back. I’m often unable to pick up calls immediately when in session.