I work with pre-teens and adolescents ages 11 and up on a broad array of issues, in both individual and family therapy. Since 1997, I have worked with children, adolescents and families in a number of settings, including in private practice; as a child custody mediator for family court services at the Los Angeles Superior Court; at a residential treatment facility for severely emotionally troubled youth; providing special needs assessments and counseling for the Santa Clara County Department of Mental Health Children's Program; and as a staff clinician at Parents Place in Palo Alto.
Areas of expertise with pre-teens and adolescents:
- Anxiety, panic and perfectionism
- Shyness and social anxiety
- Cutting and self-injurious behavior
- Girls' social and emotional development, self-esteem and body image
- Mother-daughter conflict
- Sexuality and coming out, gender identity, LGBTQ issues
- Bullying and relational aggression
- Cyber-safety, risky online behavior, overuse of digital media
Adolescents can be reluctant to participate in therapy and to utilize even proven strategies for improving emotional health. Fortunately, through years of practice working with teens, I have found a way to effectively engage, connect with and motivate even the most unwilling therapy participant. My approach to therapy with pre-teens and adolescents is informed by motivational interviewing, family systems theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. While I will often work with pre-teens and adolescents in individual therapy, I also include parents and at times the entire family system in the treatment, depending on the situation. This may entail bringing a parent into the last 5-10 minutes of a weekly individual session or scheduling monthly parent or family meetings. No matter how I include the parents, I ensure it is done in a way that balances the privacy and confidentiality of the child or teen, with the need for parental involvement to support the treatment. If the issue is impacting the entire family system -- i.e. family conflict, separation/divorce, remarriage, new sibling or other transition -- the mode of treatment may be primarily family sessions, rather than individual work.
If you feel your child, teen or family is struggling, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss the best way to address the problem.