Therapy for Children

 

Do you feel like you are at your wit's end, trying to help your kids manage their behavior and BIG feelings? Do they seem to worry a lot, cry or seem 'shut down'?  Or maybe they are being extra defiant--more than other kids their age. Or perhaps something scary or painful happened to them, and they are having a hard time getting past it.

 

Many experiences can effect a child's mood and behavior, including a new sibling, medical trauma, a history of abuse or neglect, conflict over gender identity or being LGBTQ, symptoms of ADHD, PTSD, issues of adoption, acculturation, or problems associated with a recent separation or divorce. Or it may be that your child is now a 'tween', and is developing unhealthy behaviors to cope with this big transition.

 

Sometimes there is a clear cause for a kiddo's behavior, but sometimes there just isn't--they were acting fine one day, and the next day it's like revenge of the bodysnatchers.

 

If any of these descriptions fit your child, I will help you explore the causes of their behavior, and work with you to get them back on the right track, so they can be the awesome kid they were born to be!

 

 

As a Registered Play Therapist and Certified Sandplay Therapist, I use play-based modalities including:

 

  • Play Therapy (Child-Centered, Experiential, Directive and Non-Directive), to support your child to explore and process their emotions, to practice coping skills, and to foster self-esteem and resilience. 
  • Sandplay, to allow your child playful access to their own inner thoughts, worries and fears, and to imagine and re-create more positive and healthy scenes and scenarios.
  • Art, to help your child fully explore and express their emotions. 
  • Puppets, to support your child to process emotions and traumatic memories, and to learn and then practice coping skills at a safe distance before practicing them in person. Puppets can also be a powerful tool to help children learn and practice appropriate social skills.
  • Psycho-education, using fun graphics to help your child learn about stuff like their own brain, and the importance of integrating the left and right hemispheres to gain control over their emotions and behaviors.
  • Filial Therapy, training parents to use play therapy skills with their own children both at the office and also at home.

 

 

My play therapy room includes:

 

  • Two sandtrays (one dry sand and one with Kinetic sand)
  • Shelves with figurines and symbolic objects, each thoughtfully chosen to elicit a variety of family dynamics and emotions. People figurines are of different skin-tones and sizes.
  • A dollhouse with furniture and dolls.
  • Medical toys, including a real stethoscope to support your child in expressing nurturing and processing medical trauma.
  • A tent--useful for kids who are shy or need to regroup.
  • Aggressive toys including toy swords, guns and handcuffs, to encourage the venting of anger and the processing of scary memories.
  • Anatomically-correct babies of different skin tones, and accessories to encourage nurturing and empathy. Also useful for children who have been sexually abused.
  • Dress-up clothes and accessaries to allow children to try on different roles and superpowers.
  • Toys and games to encourage self-esteem and mastery (like Legos, boardgames and basketball).
  • Art table and art supplies to facilitate the exploration and expression of emotions and memories.
  • Puppets, to safely allow your child to express their emotions, to process scary memories and to learn and practice new social skills.
  • Sensory toys (including gum) to help your child become regulated in their body.

In addition to play-based therapies, I may also incorporate traditional talk therapy with your child, if she/he is at a developmental level in which they are able to sit and talk. Or I may incorporate techniques from EMDR therapy. No matter the approach, it is my goal to support them to process trauma and/or other issues, and to then help them practice and use valuable coping skills (such as mindfulness, anger management and positive self-talk).

 

Snacks and Drinks in Session

 

Children often arrive hungry after a long day in school, and so I provide snacks and healthy juice or water for your child. I also allow children to chew gum during session to encourage regulation and focus. Please let me know if your child has any allergies or other restrictions.

 

Parent Involvement in Therapy:

 

Did you know that you, the parent/caretaker are the most important person in your child's life, and are an essential element in their healing process? Healing takes place faster and behavioral changes last longer with parental involvement in therapy. I will see your child for only one or two hours a week, but you spend much more time with them than that. Although you may be feeling frustrated with your little one's behavior, it is important to not give up--and to be open to trying out new strategies to help your kiddo with their anger, impulsivity or sadness. Parents who are able to be emotionally regulated and present are welcomed in the therapeutic process, and I may recommend a course of initial play therapy with me and then filial therapy, depending on the attachment needs I see in your relationship. I will provide empathic suggestions and resources to support you as the parent/caretaker in helping your child with their difficult emotions. Parenting support and check-ins are required at a minimum of once a month. 

 

 

Separated and Divorced Parents:

 

As it is in the best interest of your child, I am only able to work with divorced parents who are willing to co-parent civilly, and can come in together for parenting support sessions. If you are struggling with a highly conflictive relationship or are battling for custody and are not willing to co-parent effectively, I am unfortunately not able to see your child. Since I would be solely your child's play therapist, I am also not able to engage in the dual relationship of supporting you legally (including working with CFI's and attorneys and testifying for you in court). 

 

 

Working as a Team with Parents and Caretakers: Communication

 

If your child is under the age of 15 (if they are 15 or over, they will need to give signed permission), you have every right to information about how your child is doing in play therapy, their struggles, and their improvements. In order to maintain trust with your child, I may not give you every detail about what they said, what they played with and how they played with it, but I will certaintly give you information about themes I see emerging, and may ask you questions to help fill in the gaps. It will therefore be important for me to know about any recent changes at home or in school. I look forward to supporting you in supporting your child!

 

 

Contact Me Today!


Maggie Young (she, her, hers)

950 S. Cherry St., Suite 419
Denver, CO 80246

 

Phone (call or text): (720) 316-1182

 

Email: m.young@creativejourneyscounseling.com

 

Hours for psychotherapy:

Mon-Wed 10:00-4:00

 

Hours for PLSR: Thursdays 10:00-3:30

 

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