Specializing in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety, I am a Registered Child Psychologist offering video and in-person counselling services to children and their families, and have worked with youth from 4 through 25 years of age.
What type of counselling do you offer?
The methodology that I primarily draw from is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which has a strong evidence base for children and adults alike. This is a structured and goal oriented type of therapy, which is based on the belief that our thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact, and that by making small changes in any one of these areas, we are able to influence the entire system. Through the counselling process, the aim is to teach clients to eventually be their own therapist, including how to identify and respond to dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs, how to manage emotions in positive and healthy ways, and how to overcome anxious, worried, or low thoughts. I also utilize exposure and response prevention (E/RP), which includes identifying and helping clients to face their anxious thoughts and triggers while encouraging them to not engage in maladaptive responses. This is especially helpful for clients with anxiety or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
I believe that play is incredibly important in the therapeutic process, and aids in learning, engagement and retention. ‘Play’ can take many forms, and can look different at every age – from playing with figurines and puppets, to drawing and modelling with clay, and role playing various scenarios.
What will you do in each session?
The very first session is typically held with just the parents. During this initial intake session, we will have a chance to get to know each other, and I will ask you many questions about your child, including medical and developmental history, how they interact with their family, friends and the greater world around them, and all about the presenting problem. All of this information helps me to get to know and understand your child and your family, and helps to make the counselling process more targeted and efficient.
After the initial intake session, I will meet with your child one-on-one, or with you present depending on the child’s age and wishes of the family. We will work together as detectives, scientists, historians and super heroes, to uncover the automatic thoughts that underly their symptoms and fight back to reclaim all of the fun and freedom that they deserve!
‘Homework’ is assigned that helps the child practice what they have learned during each session within their home environment. Research shows that continuing the work outside of the session improves progress and decreases symptoms more quickly than if it were just conducted within the walls of the office. Parents play a vital role in helping their children complete the homework, and are enlisted as team members to ‘boss back’ worried or anxious thoughts.
How long does therapy last?
Most families experience a remittance of symptoms after 12-16 sessions, however it is highly dependent on a number of factors, including the age of the child, the nature of the presenting problem, how long it has been going on, how often ‘homework’ is able to be completed, and so on. Sessions usually begin weekly, and then gradually taper off to bi-weekly and then monthly, which allows the child to really flex their muscles and begin relying on their newly learned skills.
If you have read this far, wonderful! I would love to chat with you and answer any additional questions that you may have, please contact me at any of the methods below.