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
Tweens and teens can be reluctant to participate in therapy and utilize even proven strategies for improving emotional health. Fortunately, through years of practice working with all kinds of youth, I have found ways 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 dialectical behavioral therapy. However, because teens don't respond to a clinical or formal approach, I weave clinical techniques into a casual, conversational style that is engaging and non-threatening while still focused on addressing underlying issues and building skills to improve overall functioning.
While I will often work with tweens and teens in individual therapy, I also include parents and other family members 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 don't hesitate to contact me to discuss the best way to address the problem.