[ages 5 and up.] We love our kids and we strive to create an environment where young people want to go.
We provide play-based therapy, individual counseling, EMDR, neurofeedback services, and NMT assessments.
We want to have space for play and somewhere comfortable to sit and talk over coffee or hot chocolate. With younger kids, we’re often playing catch , making crafts in the office, playing with puppets, or creating masterpieces. Maybe we’re dancing to their favorite song or watching their favorite YouTube channel. With teens, we focus on what they want to focus on because they’re not interested in working on someone else’s agenda. We want to create a space where they have the freedom to talk without fear of us sharing that information without their permission (there are exceptions to confidentiality).
What will the process look like?
We’ll want to start with a free 20-minute consultation. That way you can make sure we feel like the best fit for your child. We’ll ask about your child’s experience with counseling in the past, what her or she liked or didn’t like. We’ll ask about what prompted you to seek counseling services, and about everyone’s goals.
After that, we’ll have you fill out some background information. Based on our what we see in the history, plus the presenting concerns, we’ll figure out where to start. Is this a situational issue? Is this a pervasive problem? Is it environmental or organic?
From there, we’ll decide which approach to take, traditional talk therapy; maybe EMDR if we see an emotional trigger, a negative belief about yourself, others, relationships, or the world; or maybe we’ll look at neurofeedback if we’re dealing with a long-standing issue that you’ve struggled to resolve, like depression, anxiety, OCD, meltdowns, sensory issues, impulsivity, ADHD, or an extreme stress response.
We spend time getting to know our kids and teens because until they feel safe and well liked, they won’t share much or be receptive to the skills we need to work on. Every client is going to go at their own pace and we want them to be in the driver’s seat.
The Importance of Play
We utilize play and brain based techniques when we work with kids and adolescents. Play-based therapy is to children, what talk therapy is to adults – Play is the language of children. And it is the language we have trained to become well-versed in. It is essential for brain development, mastering gross and fine motor movements, creating safety, providing an outlet for stress, and allowing space for children to process, learn, and grow in independence through exploration.
Working with Kids with Early Trauma
At Restoration Hope, we specialize in developmental trauma and attachment. With training in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics by Dr. Bruce Perry. Developmental – we know that trauma is a tricky thing because it so often can go unnoticed. Anything from a traumatic birthing experience, adoption, time in foster care, medical issues, moves or transitions, stressed out and preoccupied parents, and loss, plus much more can be developmental trauma. It often looks like social delays, sensory issues, attention issues or defiance, fits and meltdowns, and an overall sense that your child is functioning at a younger age than his or her physical age. Some kids with developmental trauma excel in one area of life, like academics, but struggle socially. Or maybe they’re socially skilled, but cannot do math and reading. Some kids with early trauma hoard food or binge eat sweet, salty, or fatty food. There are many signs there was early trauma. If you’re interested in an assessment, check out the NMT metrics.
We use talk therapy with older children and teens. We’ll talk about what’s going on and figure out where the roots of the issue are. Sometimes things are situational, like bullying, or parents separating. And sometimes, things are more pervasive like a history of abuse or neglect, which changes the way they view themselves or others. If your child or teen is in a really difficult season of life, then we’ll start with talk therapy. We’ll look at patterns with thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. We might use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and look at the way he or she thinks and speaks to himself or herself. We’ll utilize self-compassion. We’ll talk about attachment style and how it has affect their life and relationships. And we’ll name the emotions they have coming up. You have to name it to tame it, even if it’s not the nicest emotion. The ugly emotions have their place too and we’ll wade through that together. Sometimes we’ll be skills based, sometimes we’ll use psychoeducation, and sometimes we’ll simply sit with them in whatever it is that’s troubling them. We’re not here to fix things. We’re here to sit with them, work with them, and hopefully guide them to empowerment.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a mouthful, but it’s a brain-based therapy that helps break the emotional connection we have to beliefs or memories. Sometimes events happen that our brains don’t know what to do with because it’s unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before: abuse, car accidents, school shooters, etc. If our brain is like a filing room, when something like this happens, there’s no folder for it, so our brain can kind of shove it in a corner. We call that a “dysfunctionally stored memory”. That’s why it can continue to be so triggering. EMDR helps our brain process that memory and store it safely. Your child will always have the memory, but it won’t always be upsetting.
After getting a better understanding of your child and circumstances they are in, if we find there is a pervasive or chronic condition, such as depression, anxiety, OCD, meltdowns, sensory issues, impulsivity, ADHD, or if they have early childhood trauma and they have an extreme stress response, then we’ll look at using neurofeedback to help regulate your child’s brain. Their struggle might not be a “them” issue. It might be a brain issue.