Child and Family Counselling
The Role of Parents in Child and Family Therapy
As the primary attachment figures for your child or teen, you have a significant impact on their progress in counselling. As such, I adopt a team approach when working with minors and consult with parents periodically throughout the course of therapy. In addition to child or youth sessions, I can meet with parents on request at any point in the counselling process so that you will be equipped with the tools to best support your child. We may also decide that it is best to proceed with family sessions all together.
Information about Play Therapy with Younger Children
Younger children communicate their thoughts and feelings through behaviour with more ease than they do through verbal communication. In play therapy with younger children, I treat the behavior of play as the primary language of communication. I use both talk and expressive play-based interventions to help your child work through difficulties; this may include the introduction of art materials, sand-tray, puppets, books, and other toys. My goal is to engage your child in the counselling process and introduce new ways of coping. I will also support your child in naming emotions instead of acting them out in order to decrease overall emotional and behavioural challenges.
Counselling for Youth
At times, teenagers can be understandably reluctant to attend therapy. Developmentally, they are wired to explore their independence and begin the process of individuation from their adult caregivers. I understand that this can be a complex time to maintain connection; parents often report feeling they have less influence on their teen. To honour this developmental need, the primary focus of my initial sessions with your teen is to establish a trusting relationship and obtain their explicit consent to continue therapy. When youth are engaged in the counselling process, it can be a safe and anonymous space for them to sort through challenges. When working with youth, I rely on talk and expressive therapies that are developmentally appropriate to their age.
Common issues addressed in child and family counselling include the following:
- Impact of separation or divorce
- Anxiety/worries that impact functioning
- Medical/other traumatic experience
- Self-esteem and identity
- Emotional dysregulation, tantrums
My approach is informed by:
- Expressive Play Therapy Level 1
- Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) Level 1
- Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST)
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Level 1
- Narrative Therapy Level 1
How do we get started with Child and Family Therapy?Contact Michelle
- I will request to have contact with all legal guardians of the child or youth to obtain consent to set up the initial appointment. I am not able to proceed with counselling with a minor without consent from all legal guardians.
- I schedule a 60-minute parent intake session prior to meeting with your child or youth. If you live in separate homes, my preference is to meet together. If this arrangement is not possible due to the status of the parent relationship, I ask that one of you let me know and we can arrange two separate sessions.
- When I am working with children, I am working with families. We decide collaboratively on a treatment plan that best supports the specific needs of your child and family. If I am working individually with your child, it will still be important to schedule regular parent consultation sessions to support their therapy. Child sessions are 50 minutes long.