Moss Henry, LMFT
WORKING WITH CHILDREN
I work with children from preschool through high school. Among the issues that I see with children are:
Divorce, or blended families
School refusal, or failure
Grief and loss
Poor social skills
For teens, in addition to the above, I see issues relating to:
Drugs and alcohol
Understanding child development is a critical part of my work with children. We expect six year olds to be substantially different from fourteen year olds, and we must factor that into parenting strategies. As children grow, the roles of parents change. I meet with parents to discuss developmental issues and ways to address them. Knowing that a given behavior, or set of behaviors may be typical for a child’s developmental stage can be reassuring to parents. If the problem behavior is more intense or frequent than would be expected, I work with parents to understand what’s going on and decide how best to address it. In some instances, I work individually with a child, and consult with parents regularly.
With very young children, I use play therapy and have toys, games, puppets, sand tray, art supplies, etc. Having fun is essential if kids are going to want to meet with me. I want them to look forward to our sessions, and they do. Play is children’s work. Through play they explore the
world and begin to master it. Play also reveals issues that may be troubling a child, so I look for themes, values, social skills, how the child uses the room and supplies, and how the child relates to me.
A significant element of my work is to give words to what a child may be experiencing so they’re not alone with it and burdened. When a caring adult knows what’s going on, children often feel great relief. Sometimes I include parents in play sessions to facilitate the relationship and to help me to better understand how to be helpful to both parents and children.
With older children, sessions include more talking, but playing games remains an important part of the therapy. Kids talk more easily when involved in a game. We talk about family, school, friends, hobbies, pets and so on and may invite a parent into the session to talk about something the child is concerned about. When I am going to meet alone with parents, I let the children know, and we explore any concerns they have about it.
With teens, we may also go for a walk, listen to some of their music, read their poetry or look at their artwork. Whatever they’re interested in, we discuss. They must be willing to talk with me, so building a comfortable relationship is essential.
Adolescence is a difficult time, and having a trusted adult to talk to can make a huge difference. Conflict with parents is frequently the focus of our meetings and I will help the teen find alternatives to fighting with parents, as well as ways to discuss sensitive issues with them.
Peer relationships are often paramount at this time and teens can be reluctant to discuss them with parents. Drugs and alcohol, sexuality, school, career goals, sibling relationships, online relationships, divorce, and blended family issues are also topics we address.
Please contact me if you have concerns about your child. I’d be happy to talk with you.
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