The foundation of mental health therapy for children to learn how to name their emotional experiences. As Dan Siegel, author of The Whole Brain Child says, “You have to name it to tame it!” So our therapists will start out with engaging ways to teach children emotional expression skills. This can be done through many creative means like games, art, play, puppets, or role plays. In addition to having a diverse vocabulary to name their experiences, therapy provides them age-appropriate ways to process their day-to-day stressors and past experiences. For example, we may ask a child to pick out a toy that best describes how they feel about school or draw a picture of where they feel worry in their body.
After your child has a good foundation of emotional literacy, they can begin to learn skills that help them with the challenges they face each day. We believe children should be taught from an early age about the basic workings of their brain. This empowers children to learn how to control their brain, and by extension, their feelings and actions. Rather than feeling overwhelmed with a big emotion, a child can identify the part of the brain that is reacting and can use strategies to respond and regulate the emotion. We also feel passionate about teaching young children the benefits of grit, growth mindset, mindfulness and meditation based skills that help them with anxiety or impulse control, among others. We use modalities such as play therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, art therapy and family therapy.
Our therapists will keep you in the loop on your child’s progress in therapy and give you tools to help reinforce their newly learned skills at home. Families may be asked to join some or all of the session. Families may also choose to schedule parent-only sessions with the therapist to take a deep dive into what’s working and what’s not working, then develop new strategies and techniques to carryover growth in social-emotional wellbeing.