This is a very common and appropriate question that parents ask me when scheduling the first session for their child. They might state concerns such as “I don’t want him/her to feel like something is wrong with him/her.” While this is understandable, therapy is usually a lot more anxiety-producing for parents than it is for their child. In fact, most children who come to see me appear relieved to be in my office, and quickly understand my role in helping him/her/their family feel better about whatever it is they are struggling with. Nonetheless, at times children and teens may resist therapy, and these suggestions for how to talk to children about starting therapy can be helpful:
Welcome to Our Blog!
This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
One Step to Better Communication with Your Family
I think we have all heard it before. A teen says, “My parents don’t get me.” A spouse says, “I wish you would just listen and stop trying to fix things.” It feels like there is a block in communication and nothing ever changes. If you are feeling frustrated and stuck, utilizing validation in your communication with family members can get the ball rolling in a more positive direction. [Read more…]
Thanksgiving in the Midst of Post-Election Polarization
Before the election my colleague Stacey Schwenker posted an excellent blog on striving to thrive during the holidays. Since then we have seen stress levels skyrocket as folks are contemplating a Thanksgiving with family members polarized across the political divide. Whether you are facing one holiday meal or a few days of enforced family time, does thought of the upcoming Thanksgiving feel overwhelming or horrifying? If so, here are some ideas that might help you navigate this minefield.
The Value of Family Meetings
All families who come into my office, no matter what their particular issues are, all share one common characteristic; their family system is experiencing stress. In addition, most families have not been able to sit down together and effectively address each other’s concerns. Indeed, few families do; while it is common in many settings for people to meet together to solve problems (volunteer organizations, work, etc.), few families regularly set aside time to address concerns. As weeks fly by in a rush of work schedules, carpools, and sports practices, problems can often build up. Making time for family meetings can help families focus on improving the family atmosphere and family relationships, and head off problems before they build up. Here are some ideas for making meetings work:
Fostering Growth in Others
For many parents, August brings the beginnings of a new school year, and many accompanying changes: outgrown clothes, new school supplies, and another grade level. Even with these clear markers of change, it can be hard for parents to perceive the incremental growth that their kids are experiencing; they might be performing their morning routines more independently, or making friends more easily. As hard as it is to see such growth in our children during times of change, it can be that much more difficult to see everyday growth in others in our lives: siblings, friends, love relationships, and colleagues.