My work with children age 0-5 and their caregivers often focuses on strengthening communication and understanding in the parent-child relationship, so that they can feel connected, secure, and confident to take on the world even during times of stress. Whether you are a new or experienced caregiver, parenting can become very challenging, especially when life gets in the way. It may be caring for an infant's needs after a sleepless night, or managing the "terrible 2's" of toddlerhood after an already hard day when you find yourself at your wit's end, on the verge of a total, mutual meltdown. Adding fuel to the flames, factors like difficult life circumstances, developmental and learning differences, medical issues, and traumatic experiences can lower our stress tolerance thresholds, causing our calm, rational selves (and that of our child's) to be set ablaze by the smallest spark.
I work with parents and children to transform these tense moments of mere survival into opportunities for both of them to learn, grow, and flourish. When caregivers feel confident in attuning to experiences, attending to needs, and guiding development, and children feel safe, responded to, and understood, families thrive. In fact, building a foundation of caring and responsive early life experiences enhances children's cognitive, emotional, and social functioning both now and in the future.
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Sometimes the challenges that children and caregivers face reflect a whole family process, rather than a “single person issue.” When families find themselves stuck in negative patterns of relating to one another, such as being trapped in the same old conflicts, never-ending power struggles, or communication deadlocks, family therapy is the most effective approach. I work with families to help them improve communication and shift the dynamics of how they interact, so that each family member can feel heard, understood, and connected even when disagreements get tense. This often entails assisting families in interrupting cycles of knee-jerk reactivity, so that pathways can be opened for new ways of perceiving, relating, and solving problems together. Whether challenges are related to electronic use, discipline and limit setting, or the lasting impact of major life events, grief, or trauma, I strive to help families develop satisfying relationships that persevere when the waters get rough.