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Is your daughter anxious and worried? Or sad and irritable? Does she cry a lot and get upset about small things? Is your son nervous and fearful? Clingy or afraid to be alone? Does your child have low self-esteem? Do you see changes in behavior or trouble sleeping? Does social media cause a lot of drama? Are you frustrated because nothing seems to work? I help kids and families of all shapes and sizes be the best they can be.
sand tray therapy
Sand Tray Therapy offers a structured and safe place for kids to learn how to express their feelings and explore their inner world.
Online counseling sessions are super easy! Just click a link in an email and voila! You are set!
Welcome! I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents. I have more than 20 years of experience working in a variety of treatment settings, including local schools, police departments, outpatient clinics, day treatment, inpatient and residential treatment settings.
330 E. Main St. #216
Barrington, IL 60010
Who i help
I work with children and adolescents of all ages. Kids as young as 12 months and as old as 21 can benefit from therapy, even online therapy.
Therapy with toddlers looks very different than counseling with teens and involves a lot more parent involvement both in the session and at home, where you will implement interventions developed during sessions.
Preschool age children are more verbal than toddlers and more able to actively engage in therapy. They have some awareness of the purpose of therapy (i.e. to change behavior or work on feelings).
Kids who have entered elementary school are very aware of rules and expectations (even when they don't follow them), which means they can be more active in developing their treatment plan. However, parent involvement is still very important at this age in order to help transfer what is learned in session to home.
Middle schoolers are pulling away as they develop their independent self, yet they are still very young and often insecure about themselves. Therapy with middle schoolers can shift from some play to more involved talk therapy.
High schoolers are solidifying their independence and are capable of taking charge of their treatment, so to speak. They can articulate what is wrong and what they want to work on more than any other younger age group.
College age kids
Young adults often seek therapy and online counseling services on their own, although sometimes, they too, need help from their parents to take the first step to reach out. And while they are the most capable of expressing their feelings, anxiety and depression in college age kids can still cause feelings that are hard to put words to.
what i help with
Is your child anxious and worried a lot? Do they have trouble controlling their thoughts? Are they feeling sad with no obvious cause? Tearful and withdrawn? These are just some of the concerns kids come to therapy and online counseling to get relief.
I help kids who are feeling anxious and worried. Often, anxiety in children looks very different than anxiety in adults, although there are some similarities. Usually, kids do not have the words to explain how they are feeling. They might know words for happy, sad and mad, maybe even nervous or scared, but these words don't adequately describe their feelings or the intensity of what they are struggling with. Instead, you might see temper tantrums or crying spells before school or when leaving the house. Or maybe they can't fall asleep at night, avoid certain activities or have physical complaints, such as tummy aches, headaches or seem to fall ill a lot. These are just a few ways that anxiety can show up in children. Sometimes, though, you can see the nervousness and worry. You hear your child worry about bad things happening or focus on things that have happened in the past. Anxiety in children is very treatable.
We all get down from time to time dealing with the normal stress that life presents us with. Kids do too. They might feel sad about major changes like moving to a new house or new school, but kids are resilient and eventually adjust. When they have trouble for a longer time period, this could indicate depression. Many times, though, depression is not related to adjustment, it just pops up out of the blue with no obvious reason or trigger. Depression in children can be tricky to diagnose because kids are often more irritable than sad and crying, although this happens, too. More often you might notice more crankiness, negative thinking and loss of interest in activities. They may cry more easily than in the past, get frustrated more often and feel less hopeful. Children with depression may withdraw, quit sports or extracurricular activities, decline play dates, spend more time in their room or complain about boredom a lot. Online therapy can help depression in kids to feel better.
Making friends is difficult for some children and easier for others. This can change over time. For instance, a normally out-going child can struggle to make friends after moving or changing schools because they don't know where they fit in anymore. Other kids always struggle to feel comfortable with kids their age. Sometimes the difficulties are temporary, other times it's a long standing problem. Either way, there is help. If your child avoids interacting with peers or cries and throws tantrums when faced with social situations, this may indicate a deeper fear of embarrassment and humiliation with peers.
fears & phobias
Fear is common in children; kids are afraid of many things and usually it is developmentally normal, such as fear of the dark or occasional nightmares. Sometimes, children's fears develop into a bigger issue that interferes with their ability to do well in school, make friends or enjoy life. Phobias are specific fears that cause intense fear and disrupt a child's normal functioning. Some common phobias relate to flying, animals, heights, getting shots, seeing blood, doctor visits, etc. Sometimes kids are fearful when they are away from their parents, worrying about something bad happening to them or their parents. They may have trouble sleeping alone, have tantrums or crying spells when separated from parents, have nightmares or imagine the death of loved ones and even have tummy aches when they have to leave their parents. Separation anxiety is a normal part of child development that disappears early so that children are able to sleep in their own beds, go to school, make friends and go to sleepovers. Whether your child is afraid of something specific or general, there is help.
Many children have problems at school from time to time and the reasons can vary, but most often the problems can indicate other issues. For example, low grades can be the result of learning problems, lack of confidence, worry about doing well, adjustment due to a move or divorce. Depression, anxiety and other disorders can cause difficulty with concentration, low motivation and disorganization to name a few things. You may see a sudden dislike for school, complaints that a teacher doesn't like them, physical complaints during the school day or difficulty waking up for school. Any changes in school performance or enjoyment of school can be a sign of another issue altogether.
The development of positive self-esteem happens as a child grows and can waver when children are faced with difficult tasks or when they can see their weaknesses. Most kids are able to accept their weaknesses and develop a balanced sense of who they are. Some children struggle with only seeing their negative traits, finding fault with everything they do and only seeing how they could have done better. Sometimes their negative view of themselves can cause anxiety and depression. Other times, kids suffer a blow to their confidence when they move up a grade, move to middle school or high school where they find they do not rank as high when compared to a larger group. Blows to self-esteem are often overcome in time, but some kids with low self-esteem need help to build the confidence they need to see the amazing child that you see.
Children are faced with many challenges in our technologically driven, fast-paced world. Sometimes they have trouble adjusting to changes in their lives, such as loss, divorce or moving, while other times, they have more serious difficulties. I work with kids of all shapes and sizes with a wide variety of issues, including: adjustment, OCD, trauma, loss and grief, ADD, oppositional behavior, defiance, and other acting out behaviors.
what i do
I believe that every child is amazing, inside and out. I help kids find that amazing person inside of them and let them shine. Many children are afraid that coming to see me means that there is something wrong with them or they are crazy. I always tell kids that I'm not a doctor that helps crazy kids, I'm a doctor that helps kids get through tough times. And we all have challenges we have to overcome some time in our lives.
I work closely with parents because you know your child best. During the first session I will review your child's history, environment and current difficulties. As I am conducting the initial diagnostic evaluation, I am observing how your child relates to you, to me and in the room. I want to understand your child, who they are and how they interact. Some of my questions can uncover painful feelings. I try to allow kids to feel those intense feelings in the safety of the therapy relationship. Therapy makes children feel safe to explore their feelings so that they can accept them. Accepting our feelings allows us the strength to overcome anything.
Typically, I will meet with parents at the beginning of online therapy and in-person therapy sessions for about 10 minutes. It gives parents the chance to provide an update about symptoms at home and what has or has not worked. From time to time, I might want to meet alone with parents to discuss 'beefing things up at home'; putting more structure in place to help your child learn to control their feelings in a positive way. Routines, habits and plans help children to stay in control of their emotions, and while every family has their own structure, I may recommend added pieces for more support based on your child's needs.
I enjoy working with children, helping them to explore themselves without judgement, and find their inner strength to overcome whatever challenge they face. I understand how hard it is to parent. There is no manual, no right way to parent that fits every child. I also offer support sessions to parents who are interested. Usually these sessions are focused on your child's plan for structure at home. Sometimes parents just need to have someone to talk things through with, vent frustrations or seek support for themselves.