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In today’s world, teens face many challenges but also have resources and strengths that sometimes go unnoticed. High schools provide the foundations for college, but also have drugs, alcohol, pressure to fit in, have relationships and pressure about sex. Developmentally, teens are forming the beginnings of their identity, coming to terms with their sexual identity or questioning, starting to think for themselves, separate themselves from their family of origin in order to become their own person. Although adolescence is a wonderful period of exploration, growing and possibilities for the future, it can also be difficult for parents and teens as they demand more limits, more freedom, test the rules, declare their individuality and learn to navigate the social scene with their peers. These are all normal struggles that teens and families experience. Many benefit from a therapeutic setting with an experienced therapist who will provide support, be a referee, provide perspective and help teens and parents maintain their loving bonds as they grow up.
Signs of Trouble
Along with the normal struggles, come difficulties that go beyond the usual growing pains of teens. It is sometimes hard for parents to identify when their adolescent is “just moody” and when there is a serious problem that needs intervention. Some signs that your teenager may need help include:
Your child becomes more secretive, and it seems like more than a desire for greater privacy.
Your teen has regular, sudden outbursts of anger that are clearly unreasonable and out of proportion to whatever has caused the anger.
Your teen regularly misses curfew, does not show up when expected, and lies about his or her whereabouts (is not where you expected them to be if you check up on them)
Your teenager has suddenly changed his or her peer group and hasn’t made an effort to let you meet these new friends.
The new group has led to a distinct change in appearance (clothing, jewelry) and change in attitude (more sullen, defiant, hostile).
Your adolescent has stolen money from your purse on regular occasions.
Your adolescent has extreme mood swings, from depression to elation, and seems to sleep a lot more than usual at times.
Your child’s grades have suddenly dropped and the child has lost interest in the usual activities.
Your teenager talks about suicide in vague terms (“Nothing matters anymore”) or directly (“I should just kill myself”).
Your adolescent begins to wear long sleeved clothes despite warm weather and has no reasonable explanation.
Areas of Expertise
he types of difficulties that I have experience treating include: Depression, Anxiety, Adjustment Disorders, Body Dysmorphia, Gender Issues, Self-Injurious Behaviors, Trauma/Abuse
We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. — Stacia Tauscher
It is common for children to experience occasional difficulties such as conflicts over toilet training, bedtime and homework. They sometimes encounter problems with parents, siblings and peers as they attempt to establish a personal identity and practice relating to others. They experience conflict with teachers as academic and behavioral demands increase. As a child is faced with new situations, demands and expectations, it’s common for the child to experience occasional feelings of sadness, fear and anger. These reactions tend to be short-lived, however, and usually do not greatly interfere with the their life. However, at times, a child’s response to life’s pressures may become severe, and the parents’ attempts to help their child may be unsuccessful. At times such as these, an experienced psychologist may be able to help. When Is the Time? How does a parent know when to seek professional assistance for their child? Some considerations might be:
Their emotional distress is disrupting daily functioning at home, school or socially, threatens to overwhelm the child or interferes with the achievement of age-appropriate developmental milestones.
Behaviors can include refusing to follow rules, yelling, talking back, demanding, or seeming to not care about punishment or consequences for their behavior.
Children may also benefit from psychological treatment when the problems they face are complicated and beyond the range of normal daily experience. For example, children who suffer from serious or life-threatening medical problems often derive benefit from the assistance provided by a knowledgeable psychologist. The psychologist focuses on helping these children develop coping skills to deal with their unique situation and advises parents regarding how best to support their child.
The least common but most serious indication that psychological treatment is needed is when a child’s symptoms are severe or the behavior is extreme and potentially life threatening. This would include situations in which a child is experiencing false auditory or visual sensations, setting fires, assaulting others/themselves, destroy property or is severely depressed and making remarks about committing suicide.
Parents react in a variety ways when faced with the idea that their child needs psychological treatment. Some parents tend to feel guilty and blame themselves for their child’s problem. Other concerned parents may experience confusion or uncertainty regarding their child’s need for treatment. A teacher, for instance, may describe the child as evidencing emotional or behavior problems in the classroom, while the child appears to behave normally at home. Parents who receive this type of feedback often have difficulty reconciling their own perception of their child with those of the teacher.
Most parents are not reluctant to consult a physician for their child’s medical needs. I believe the informed parent also recognizes when their child may need or benefit from psychological treatment and understands that such intervention is not in any way a sign of parental failure.I consider parental involvement to be a foundation of every child’s treatment. From the first session, parents are relied upon for information concerning their child’s development, behavior, relationships, and habits and they are closely consulted regarding the goals of treatment. Parents are partners in the treatment process and I rely upon them to provide critical feedback regarding the effectiveness of our interventions as they are developed and implemented. In some cases, as with treatment for developmental or disruptive behavior disorders, parents are the most involved in the therapy both in and outside the office.I have specialized training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, an approximately 18-session series of treatments in which I coach parents in interventions to use when their children experience:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Intermittent Explosive Disorder
I see the wise woman. And she sees me. She smiles from shrines in thousands of places. She is buried in the ground of every country. She flows in every river and pulses in the oceans. The wise woman’s robe flows down your back, centering you in the ever-changing, ever-spiraling mystery. — Susun Weed, Meditation on the Wise
In the multiple roles that women assume today, that of mother, partner, wife, nurturer, provider, friend, coworker, we become stressed and forget to give that same attention to ourselves. Our culture raises women to think of themselves last, to smile no matter what, and to be silent instead of protest. It is no wonder, then, that there are at least 1.5 million New Zealand women who suffer from depression. Women experience stress from a variety of sources that can lead to emotional difficulties that interfere with their ability to function in daily living, to sleep or to eat properly. Women are also more at risk to experience physical abuse and sexual assault, leading to emotional difficulties from unresolved trauma. The physiology of women can complicate the picture further. Women experience hormonal changes throughout their lives that significantly impact all areas of functioning. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), menopause and post-partum depression are just a few examples of how a physical change can impact the emotions. Other reasons that I have treated women in the past have included anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (adult), relationship difficulties, eating disorders, pre-and post-gastric surgery therapy and healing from trauma (childhood or adult).
My philosophy to providing therapy to women is holistic. This means that we would address the physical body, the emotional self, and the intellectual self and how they relate to what is going on with you now. If a client is spiritual, this too is a part of the approach and treatment. So, for instance, I may request that a client receives a thorough physical exam to rule out any physiological contribution to the issues at hand. I may also address nutrition, exercise, and other “body” aspects to emotional wellness. We may incorporate meditation into the treatment, and examine the ways that you are caring for yourself in body/mind/spirit. My approach is also feminist in that I see my role with you as a consultant, an equal who will provide you with guidance and knowledge, but will also support and encourage the ability within you, the ability we all possess, to heal, grow and transform. I seek to empower women with tools that will lead to making healthy choices, speaking your truth, discovering and learning, loving yourself, and having satisfying relationships. The tools that I use in therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy, insight-oriented psychodynamic therapy, and skills-based therapy. At this time, I am seeing individuals, but it is my hope to offer therapy groups in the future as well. I would encourage women in the community or clients to let me know what they need and what they would like for me to facilitate for them while I am forming these groups.