• Two Girls Looking Away From the Camera

What to Expect

Benefits of Therapy for a Child

I assist children ages 3-18 and their parents in restoring a healthy developmental path and stronger, more resilient relationships.

Here are three important questions when considering therapy for your child:

1) When would a child benefit from therapy? LEARN MORE

2) What is a child’s experience in therapy? LEARN MORE

3) How are parents involved? LEARN MORE

Getting Started

The first step is for us to have a phone conversation (usually 20 – 30 minutes). I do not charge a fee for this initial phone meeting. During this conversation we will discuss how to schedule appointments. I use an online scheduler that I will give you access to once we have had our initial phone call.

My fee is $150 per session. Payment is due at the time of our appointment. I accept cash, checks and Visa/Mastercard. I do not accept insurance, which keeps my fee down and protects confidentiality. Clients have the option to receive a month end statement showing the details of sessions paid for that they can submit to their insurance company for out of network provider reimbursement.

When would a child benefit from therapy?

Knowing when a child might benefit from therapy is sometimes obvious (possibly a death in the family, thoughts of harming themselves or others, behaviors that keep them from enjoying life). Sometimes it is not so obvious (perhaps a lack of enthusiasm for once loved activities, a “phase” that seems to go on too long, the family making accommodations for one child’s discomfort).

Some of the children I have worked with have experienced:

  • A hard time focusing (even on fun activities)
  • Difficulty separating from parents to enjoy  age-appropriate activities
  • A hard time making friends
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety (sometimes panic attacks)
  • Worrying thoughts they can’t stop
  • Body image struggles
  • Depression
  • New family members
  • A need for more effective social skills
  • Divorce or family separation
  • Step family integration
  • A parent’s illness and/or death
  • The death of a loved one
  • A major move (new house, school)
  • Problems controlling bowel and/or bladder
  • Problems controlling anger or other emotions
  • Adoption
  • Ongoing conflicts with important adults (parents, family, teachers)
  • Thoughts of hurting themselves or someone else
  • Self harm such as cutting their own bodies
  • Trouble adjusting to a new parenting plan
  • Lack of compassion for others

Sometimes parents seek my help because their doctor or a teacher has suggested doing so. At times they call because they are at the end of their rope and need new resources. Other times they call because a problem they thought had been resolved has resurfaced (often when something new is happening).

What is a child’s experience in therapy?

When a child walks into my office they will see lots of games, toys, and art supplies. There is a tray full of sand and shelves full of miniature figures of animals, people, vehicles, trees and many other things they can use to create “sand pictures”. All of these games and toys will become their tools in a process of healing.

As a play therapist, my job is to learn what stories a child has created while making sense of their world and experiences. These stories get revealed in their play and in our interactions. My training allows me to help create a safe space for these stories to be told. As these stories become present I guide them in finding healthier ways to view the world and themselves while integrating potentially painful experiences and thoughts.

We all have a built in drive toward health and vitality. A child is accessing that drive when they create an understanding about their world; why my parents got divorced, how come I got hurt by my uncle, what can I do when I feel so scared I can’t move, what could I have done that might have changed things.

In addition to the more overt stories, children create stories sometimes even they aren’t aware of. This is when we can see mysterious symptoms such as: inability to control their bowel or bladder, excessive hand washing or other “rituals”, an urge toward self harm in order to feel better, or an overwhelming feeling of being unsafe in a very safe environment.

To a child, particularly the younger ones, they will see our time as play time. Older children will experience time with me as time to talk while we might play a board game or draw together. Most children look forward to our time together. They will know from the beginning that everything they do and say during our time stays in the room and with me, unless they tell me someone is getting hurt or about to get hurt. This is their safe space.

How are parents involved?

The most important relationship in a child’s life is with their parents. In my work I keep that as my focus; how to strengthen the parent/child attachment.

What a child is able to gain from therapy is enhanced and guided by parental involvement. This happens from the moment a parent first thinks about counseling for their child to finding a therapist and getting them to appointments.

Since I work closely with parents, I schedule a 2 hour intake sessions with them before meeting their child. This allows us, parents and me, to form a relationship. It gives time for questions and for me to begin to understand the nature and history of their concerns. It also gives me the opportunity to get acquainted with a family’s values and styles of communication.

After the 2 hour parent intake session, I typically recommend one session (50 minutes) per week with a child and one parent consultation session (50 minutes) per month with their parents. At times I may suggest another schedule based on individual needs.

Parent Consultations
There are times it is most effective for parents to schedule sessions for their own support and guidance. This may be in lieu of me working one on one with a child or it may be that parents need more extensive support before we determine it would be helpful for their child to come in to see me.

No matter what, throughout the process these consultations prove to be the ingredient that makes child therapy work. At times it is a challenge to fit in one more appointment and certainly trying to get two family members to come in for an appointment adds another layer to the scheduling complexity. It is worth it. Over the years I have seen how these consultations are what bridge the work done in my office to life at home and in the world at large. It weaves it all together.

“We are benefiting so much from the support of therapy and are really thankful to have found you!”

—Mother of a 4 year old boy

“Your help, reassurance, and guidance through this have been integral to our family not losing its collective mind.”

—Parent of a 4 year old child

“Thank you for everything you’ve taught me and my son. You have really taught me how important it is to keep reconnecting with my child.  All I have to do is look at him and I see all you have given us.”

—Mom of 6 year old child

“Thank you for everything Jennifer. I will miss seeing you a lot.”

—7 year old child

“Thank you for helping me with my behavior. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

—8 year old child

“Our deepest thanks to you! Our family is stronger, our boy happier!”

—Parents of 5 year old child

“Life continues with all of it’s beautiful complexities. Thank you for all the kind work that you do, and have done for our family.”

—Parents of 5 year old child