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About Jennifer
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Maui Family Therapy
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About Jennifer

Why would anyone need therapy... especially a kid?

We all go through tough times in our lives with emotional struggles.  It's just part of being a human being.  However, sometimes these challenges require special attention... especially for a kid.

Children dramatically change and grow by the year, month, week, even by the day.  This is the job of youth: to evolve emotionally over time into adulthood.   The milestones of this evolution can be measured by successfully developing:

   1. a healthy self-esteem
   2. a feeling of capability
   3. a sense of integrity

When significant emotional battles in childhood take place, normal development in these areas is in danger of being interrupted.  When that happens, it can lead to not only an unhappy kid and frustrated parents, but it can plant the seeds for that child to grow up to be an unhappy and dysfunctional adult.
So what happens in therapy?  Do you just sit and talk to kids all day?

No, it is actually much more involved than that.  After all, if just talking worked, your child wouldn't be having the behavior problems that your family is trying to deal with.  The important thing to remember is that children don't have the maturity or brain power to fully understand and express their emotions... heck, some adults don't either.

So, instead of expressing themselves with words like an adult would do, they communicate their feelings through behavior.  Your child's behavior is like a magic decoder ring to understand how your kid views himself and the world around him.

My job is not to talk at your kid, but to be interactive with your kid.  Whether it be talking, playing, constructing art projects or sharing a fun learning activity, I stimulate your child's imagination and help guide him to learn how to express his feelings more productively.
Why would I pay a therapist to play with my kid, she already has friends of her own?

Much like you, your child has a job... and it's serious work.  All children go to work every day and their job is to play.  That's right.  This includes teenagers too.  Yes, teens play, just in a different way than they used to.  Play is practice for real life when they reach adulthood.  The way that adults face emotional challenges is developed through play as children.  That play helps them learn to identify, explore and express their feelings when they grow up... thus developing into happy and functional adults.

A therapist like myself encourages that exploration to reach two important outcomes:

   1. to recognize important themes in your child's behavior and activity
   2. to guide your kid's behavior towards more positive interactions

I am an expert in interpreting what your child says and does.  I will give you a better insight into what's going on in your kid's head that's creating the behavior that you don't want.  Through play, I am able to communicate with and get to know your child.  The more I get to know her, the better your kid gets to know herself. The more she gets to know herself... the more maturity she will gain.

How involved do I get to be as a parent?

When treating a child, I generally consider the entire family as my client.  A child's growth and survival is dependent upon successful relationships with parents and other family members.  That includes teenagers!

Sometimes it is best for the whole family to attend sessions together to increase healthy communication and encourage emotional support for one another.  Other times, it is good for kids to attend sessions as individuals on a regular basis, with parents attending only occasional sessions.  Either way, it's imperative that you and I maintain a strong connection to better help both your child and your family work through the nature of the problem.  I'll continually keep you updated on how your child is progressing and I'm always interested in what you see and experience at home.

Will you tell me everything that my kid talks about and says in therapy?

No, but for good reason.  The therapeutic relationship is based on confidentiality, trust and safety.  This is good for your kid because it creates a safe place to explore thoughts and feelings from an appropriate distance away from the perceived judgments of the family.  This way, your kid can find his own thoughts and his own voice.

On the other hand, if I feel that your child is in physical or life threatening danger, I will lawfully break that confidentiality in an ethical and responsible way.  So rest assured that I will always work in the best interest of your child.

I have some more questions.  Can I get more information about how you work?

Absolutely.  I'd be happy to answer any of your questions.  We can talk about the needs of your child and family and come up with the best approach to bring you a little more peace of mind.  Feel free to Contact me so we can get the ball rolling to helping your kid change and grow.