Children & Adolescents

Stephanie Small is an accomplished, caring, down-to-earth therapist who takes a positive approach in her work with kids and their families. She views children and adolescents as unique individuals and respects their needs and feelings. The unique needs and feelings of parents are also heard and understood, in a fair and non-judgmental atmosphere. Building on the strengths of the child and family, Stephanie sets achievable goals and realistically works towards them. She guides parents in developing skills to become a positive force in their child's life. Through a trusting partnership, Stephanie nurtures the desire for change and a better future.

Stephanie has success helping children and adolescents with issues that are troubling them, such as: divorce or separation, grief and loss, attention difficulties, peer conflict, peer pressure and bullying, anger control, depression, anxiety, school refusal, adoption issues, social skills, eating disorders, substance abuse and obsessive behavior.

As a child therapist and parent-child specialist, Stephanie treats the changing issues that effect children, adolescents and their parents in this fast, stressful and often dangerous high-tech culture. Media, relatives and friends can bombard and overwhelm parents with well-meaning advice about work, school, family, and parenting. While information should empower parents, too much conflicting information from multiple sources can overwhelm one’s ability to trust which decisions are best for our children and ourselves.

Stephanie works with parents to help them trust their own choices and develop confidence in a parenting style that reflects their personal values. She uses multiple, age-appropriate interventions to help children and adolescents work through their particular issues. Her goal throughout is to help families reduce anxiety, restore communication and increase their joy in one another

WORKING WITH ADOLESCENTS

Working with adolescents can be challenging. Stephanie, however enjoys and has a passion for it. And the teens know it.

As children transition into adolescence, they are particularly open and interested in exploring who they are and who they want to be which allows for great change and growth.

As they go through difficult times, it is often hard for teenagers to ask for and accept a parent’s help: Stephanie advises parents to try and not take the rejection personally. Your children still love you. They are simply experimenting with what it’s like to be independent and in charge for the very first time.

Even if we understand this, raising a teenager can leave many parents and loved ones feeling frustrated, ignored, worried, anxious, disconnected, fearful, and at times, quite angry. Seeking the support of someone outside the family can make this difficult transition easier for everyone involved.

By gradually developing a trusting and open relationship with the young people she works with, Stephanie can begin to get to the source of the emotional, behavioral and environmental issues at hand.

With the family’s help, we can begin to work towards developing more positive and healthy ways of coping and getting through challenging times.

WORKING WITH CHILDREN

Parents know when something isn’t right with their child, though they may not know what exactly is wrong. Maybe they are not achieving in school despite their capability, or they’re lying a lot, or they’re angry too often. There may be changes at home that your child is having a hard time adjusting to.

Through careful listening and the specialized techniques of psychotherapy with children, Stephanie determines what the underlying issue is and how to get your child back on track. Her interventions depend on the age of your child and the presenting issues.

Early Years

Pre-schoolers need to grow and develop physically, socially and cognitively to meet their developmental milestones. This is the one time during childhood when it is appropriate to measure your child against norms. Because developmental milestones are critical for your preschooler to progress and enter school ready to learn, you want to look closely at your child’s development. If you, your pediatrician or pre-school teacher have concerns about your child’s ability to use language, perform tasks or relate to others, an early evaluation can be crucial. Stephanie can assist with an initial assessment and in seeking appropriate interventions and services to help your child towards achieving healthy development.

Elementary School

Family, friends and school are the foundation of the 7-12 year olds world. Children require love and limits, along with enormous amounts of time and attention to thrive. If you sense your child is struggling, e.g. they have no friends or are being bullied, they have academic difficulties despite their capabilities, they are frequently angry at home or school, or if there are changes in family circumstances due to divorce, illness or loss  -- you might consider seeking help. In a safe space created through careful attention and play therapy, a child can explore and show what’s wrong or where it hurts. Therapy with children in this age range is often short-term. Once we address the difficulties, it often frees the child to grow and authentically discover interests and strengths that gives him or her a sense of control and well-being.

Middle School

Middle Schoolers are a challenge to parents and teachers alike. They travel a difficult path between childhood and adolescence and are often overwhelmed with all they have to manage. If you find your child is angry, defiant, failing in school or simply not happy, there is probably good cause for their behavior. However, articulating the cause and then coming to solutions may be more than you and your child are able to do, together. Stephanie helps this age uncover their underlying issues by carefully and appropriately striking a balance between being a therapist and a friendly advisor. In therapy, she works at helping this age give voice to their difficulties and discover ways to create productive solutions for themselves and their families. Middle schoolers never cease to amaze with their ability to be insightful and mature while simultaneously maintaining more childish qualities as well, which makes the time  spent together in therapy rewarding.

Adolescents and Young Adults

By the time your teenager reaches high school you have – or think you have – a good idea of who they are. However, adolescents change from day to day as they negotiate their entry into the adult world. As their parents, you may or may not have good information on how they are doing academically, socially and internally. Teenagers often react to pressure around school, college, relationships, inner fears and emotions with assurance that they can take care of it without your help. Any evidence or suggestion of risky behavior such as use of drugs or alcohol, eating disorders or self-injury or depression should not be ignored. In Stephanie’s experience, adolescents enjoy therapy and do very well with the “talking cure”. Once they feel the therapy relationship is trustworthy, teenagers are able to confide their fears and risky behaviors and can be persuaded to address problems and seek solutions. This may mean you and your adolescent find some relief sooner rather than later.

 

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