Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychological Services
Ready to make an appointment for your child or teen? Please first read Parents Seeking Therapy for Children and Teens: What to Expect?
Many of our staff specialize in the assessment and treatment of children, teens, and their families.
Common problems among child and youth populations include:
Shyness & Low Self-Esteem
Fearfulness, Moodiness, Social Withdrawal
Child Abuse and Trauma Recovery
Pervasive Developmental Disorders/ Autism
How Child Therapy Works
Therapy for children is not the same as for adults. Kids don't have the same verbal expressive and receptive language skills; and they are often unaware of the most basic emotions they feel--let alone understand the conflicts that trouble them. This is why we use a playroom. Children have a hard time sitting in a office chair for long periods of time talking about what bothers them. They just do not know the words to describe how they are feeling inside or what they are thinking, so sometimes they act out or show how they feel through inappropriate behaviour or in indirect ways. Sometimes this is disruptive and aggressive, or verbally defiant, and other times children simply withdraw, become quiet, shy, fearful, phobic, and detached. It may appear as though they are trying to irritate, oppose, or not listen to or obey adult authority, when often they are sad, anxious, and in emotional pain. The child's school performance is usually neglected, and this has further implications for his or her social adjustment. The entire family is often affected.
Child therapy utilizes a number of proven techniques that allow children to express their thoughts, feelings, and conflicts in order to heal and change their maladaptive behaviours and modes of expression. In play, children learn how to express their thoughts and feelings in constructive ways, to control their behaviour, to make better decisions, and to accept responsibility for their actions. We provide toys, dolls, puppets, paints, musical instruments, and crafts for children to use in order for them to say what they have difficulty saying with words. When children can communicate or play out how they feel to someone who understands and validates them, they feel better because their feelings have been released and transformed. This also allows them to form a positive and healthy attachment to a caring adult, which further enables them to develop positive feelings for others, including their parents.
Child and Youth Therapy Options
Family Restructuring, Divorce Mediation, & Parenting Coordination
We provide separation/divorce mediation, post-separation and divorce family restructuring, treat parental alienation syndrome, serve as a parenting coordinator or parenting coach for couples in dispute, and conduct court-ordered custody and access evaluations for high conflict couples. When custody matters are not in dispute, or when couples wish to avoid legal conflict, we provide consultation to couples facing separation to help assist them in reorganizing their family roles and responsibilities, provide post-divorce family restructuring mediation, (e.g., telling children about separation/divorce, educating parents on the effects of separation/divorce on children, introducing new partners, providing general guidelines and principals for cooperative parenting, how to implement parenting plans, etc.).
Parental Estrangement & Alienation
We also intervene with families where parental estrangement or alienation is a factor. When appropriate, we provide therapeutic access, hence assist children and their parents to re-connect or re-unite after long absences or when a child is refusing to see one parent.
Family Intervention Options
Parenting Guidance & Coaching