My specialty is working with young children ages, 2-12, and their families, utilizing an expressive art and play therapy approach. Within that scope, I work with a wide range of behavioral and emotional difficulties.
I began my career in the mental health field almost 40 years ago. While still attending college, I was employed at a residential treatment facility for abused and emotionally disturbed children. I spent the next 10 years providing direct services to the children as a child care worker, which entailed living with 6-8 children and assisting them with their daily routines. I eventually moved up into a case management position. At that time I started working a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family therapy. The 3000 hours of internship training that is required before becoming licensed was spent working in a non public school with troubled youth. I received my license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1994 and a specialization as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor in 1996.
My philosophy about children is that the symptoms a child presents with in counseling do not define the child. The symptoms are just an expression of their neurological, biological, emotional, behavioral and relationship systems that they are struggling with. There is so much more to them and as a therapist I need to continually focus on their strengths rather than on their deficits.
My philosophy about parents is that they are the experts of their children. I am simply sharing knowledge and experience to help light the path of their journey with their child.
The use of toys in my counseling with children is a great asset in working with children because it gives them a creative means of expression of thoughts and feelings. It challenges them to look at things in a new way and solve difficult problems that they were not able to put into words. However, parents and caregivers are the greatest contribution to a child’s emotional life. Strengthening relationships between parents and children is essential so that parents become the child’s favorite toy, so to speak.
I listen to children and I talk to them in a simple and uncomplicated way. I guess, in a way, it is how we would all like to be talked to. I challenge children to express themselves in new and different ways and together we find playful solutions to difficult problems. Plato said that you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation.