Family therapy in Greenwich and White Plains may involve parents and their child/children, grandparents, the parent's own siblings or parents, caretakers or any combination of family/relevant others. As a family therapist, I am a caring and compassionate psychologist serving NY and CT families, parents and teens for many years.
What are the goals of family therapy and parenting counseling
- Help you and your family learn different methods of relating and communicating more effectively with one another
- Improve relationships between family members, relevant others
- Respect each other's perspective and work through your differences even though family/relevant others may see issues differently
- Actively participate in collaborative efforts to repair grievances and heal old wounds
- Develop a compassionate understanding and take responsibility, in order to address your child or partner's past hurts
- Resolve impasses, deal with crises and address troubling situations
- Help couples make the decision to move forward to save their marriage or to separate
What do family therapy sessions involve?
- Marital Counseling or Couples Counseling
- Separation/Divorce Counseling/Post-Divorce Counseling (always putting the children first)
- Counseling through difficult life periods (death, divorce, loss, illness, job loss, etc.)
- Child and Adolescent Therapy
- Parent(s) and/or Step-Parent Counseling, with or without child
What can counseling for parents achieve?
- Helps parents maintain standards and resolve differences as they relate to the children. Parents may have different behavioral expectations, ideas about rewards and consequences, academic standards, social expectations, manners, respectfulness, ideas about acceptable amounts of time spent on social media, cell phone use, video games, etc.
- Learn to work as a team to provide the environment, values, guidance and experiences which will help your children flourish. Parent Counseling can help you deal with your child's developing issues before the situation deteriorates
Parent counseling also addresses these and other family issues
- Step-parent and blended-family issues, such as feelings of rejection or feeling irrelevant to the family, favoritism, providing emotional support to the step-parent, clarifying the role of the step-parent. Should the step-parent discipline the child? Resolve how to handle rudeness or rigid rejection of the step-parent
- Infertility: the emotional effect on each partner
- Adoption: the emotional consequences to the child and the adoptive parents
- Abortion: helping you make a decision and working through the emotional impact
- Generational and cultural issues (between parents, grandparents and children)
- Sibling rivalry problems, favoritism
- Developmental disorders: the emotional effects of developmental challenges on the child and family, such as learning issues, ADHD, physical limitations, childhood illnesses, Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Disorder, etc. Supporting the siblings of special-needs children
- Finances and Values: parental conflicts regarding money and values and communicating differences to children
- Conflicts over In-Laws
- Work/Life Balance: how to find family time, couples' time, individual time (exercise, sports, golf, hobbies, individual interests)
You may find yourself emulating the kind of parenting you experienced as a child, or even acting the opposite of the way you were raised. Regardless, rigid or lax methods of parenting can be ineffective or destructive, resulting in your and your child's upset. During parent counseling, parents can learn effective habits while focusing on each family member's areas of strengths and challenges, addressing problem areas with sensitivity and flexibility. This type of cooperative, supportive parent counseling can help you raise healthy, happy and well-adjusted children.
Adolescent therapy in Greenwich and White Plains
Teenagers undergo significant change mentally, emotionally and physically. Changes in their bodies can produce feelings of self-consciousness that can have a negative impact on how they behave in the family, school and social settings. Teenagers can become hypersensitive about how they are viewed, or think they are viewed, by peers, parents and teachers, as well as how they think they are being treated. The stress of how they think they are being treated or judged can be painful and difficult for teens to deal with.
Teenagers may not yet be fully equipped to express or cope with their complex perspectives and ever-changing emotions. They may withdraw into their own space in order to recover. Alternatively, they may become emotionally volatile with sudden, inexplicable outbursts of anger or crying.
The rate of physical, emotional, and intellectual change can be overwhelming for you as well as for them. You may find yourself emotionally "yanked" between sudden contradictory feelings towards your child. Typically, you feel overwhelming love and protectiveness towards your child and anger at whom/whatever is causing him/her pain. Almost simultaneously however, you may experience anger, frustration and exasperation at your teen's possibly volatile, irresponsible, rude or rebellious behavior.
Teen counseling is an opportunity for your teenager to learn how to understand and deal with complex and/or intense feelings and to learn how to express their emotions more maturely and effectively.
In a safe, non-judgmental environment, teenagers often find it easier speaking to a professional rather than to their parents. This is a good first step towards opening up to their parents and/or taking responsibility for dealing with the issue or situation they are presently going through.
Often, teenagers may feel a great deal of pressure from loving yet hyper-attentive parents who try to focus on all of the details in the teenager's life, such as their academics, sports and nuances of their friendships. These anxious, loving parents are well-intentioned yet may be overprotective, trying to protect their teen from the usual disappointments/pain of rejection or feelings of failure.
The pressure of parental expectations can cause teens to worry excessively, feel fragile or insecure, ashamed, embarrassed about disappointments and feel bad about themselves. This type of parental anxiety can also contribute to the teen not taking responsibility for the details in his/her life, with the teen feeling insecure and ill-equipped to deal with upcoming college pressure and life's normal challenges (a type of performance anxiety.)
Signs that your adolescent may benefit from talking to a psychologist
- Low motivation/underachievement
- Acting out
- Anger, extreme persistent rudeness, chronic lying
- Eating disorders
- Drug/alcohol dependency
- Self-injurious behavior including self-cutting, suicidal thoughts, impulses or gestures
- Avoidance of personal responsibilities
- Bullying (aggressor or victim)
- Stress from peer pressure, fear of failure or rejection
- Social anxiety and social avoidance/isolation
- Social media compulsion, gaming addiction, pornography addiction, sexting
- Psychological impact of being labeled "Special Needs" or the emotional impact of being the sibling of a "Special Needs" child
- Sibling issues
- Low-self esteem
- Oppositional-defiant behavior
Finally, teens will see a counselor when they need another point of view regarding a situation or problem and are too embarrassed or fearful to discuss it with their parents.
- They may need to sort out their feelings with a neutral party
- They may want to take on an issue and resolve it productively without having to deal with the additional burden of their parent's upset feelings
- Their relationship with their parents might make it too difficult to discuss the issue at this particular time, but the teen may need help with the issue right now
Individual teen counseling, CBT and anger management counseling can help her/him resolve conflicts with parents, other family members or resolve any matter that is troubling the teen presently. Therapy serves to provide an independent support so that the teen is far less likely to act their conflict out in a hostile or self-destructive way, or create other problems by denying the conflict.
Often, teens are concerned about hurting their parent's feelings or upsetting them and may suppress their own feelings or perspective to the point that it damages their own personal growth. They may need some professional help regarding how to approach their parents on a particular issue or may resolve the issue themselves during the course of therapy.