Therapy with children looks different than therapy with adults. Children do not have the cognitive skills for "talk" therapy as adults do. Children's words are toys and play is their language. Through the use of play therapy, children are able to work through internal conflict that leads to acting out and uncomfortable feelings. Games, art, sandtray therapy and other activities are utilized in sessions. As a family therapist, Kristi Patterson, MA, LMFT-S, LPC-S, RPT-S, ICST understands that change can take place within the context of relationships, therefore, parents and guardians are often included in reaching treatment goals.
For more information about play therapy, please review the videos below published by the American Association for Play Therapy.
Therapy also looks different with adolescents than with adults as typical brain development entails that a teen's brain is not fully mature until approximately age 25. Many children & adolescents that come to counseling come not because they want to, but because their parent or guardian is concerned about their child. Sometimes games, art therapy and sandtray therapy are utilized to help develop trust between client/therapist, build rapport, strengthen socio-emotional skills, improve coping skills, and help clients reach their goals. Depending on the presenting issues, parents and guardians are also included in sessions.
* Please note that Kristi Patterson, MA, LMFT-S, LPC-S, RPT-S, ICST must have all legal documents pertaining to custody arrangements prior to scheduling an appointment for children and adolescents under age 18 in the event of divorce by biological parents, foster care placement, and/or adoption. Also, please be aware that Kristi Patterson, MA, LMFT-S, LPC-S, RPT-S, ICST does not make custody determinations, facilitate reunification therapy, conduct psychological evaluations, or evaluate whether trauma has occurred. If trauma or new custody arrangements take place or are being considered, the therapist's role is to help the child or adolescent work through their reality of the trauma event and/or adjustment issues.