MY APPROACH & PHILOSOPY
A philosophy that respects individual differences. My clinical approach is based on certain fundamental principles:
A Broad View of Normality and the Importance of Context
Many people experience stress, discomfort, or struggle without being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Context is important. Temperament matters. Problems can exist on a spectrum, ranging from mild to moderate or more severe and extreme. I will help you identify if what your child or teen is experiencing is beyond typical childhood development and behavior through a lens of social, cultural and historical context. And, if what your child or teen is experiencing is interfering with daily functioning, in social or family relationships, interests and activities, academic performance, sleep, appetite, mood, energy, or attention and focus, it may be time to seek professional help. This doesn’t mean something is “wrong with you.” Everyone can benefit from support and learning tools and strategies to cope more effectively during difficult times.
Psychiatric Diagnosis and the Use of Medication
I am conservative about diagnoses and referrals for medication consultations. In order to make a psychiatric diagnosis, symptoms have to significantly impair functioning and relationships.
Goodness of Fit
This phrase refers to the level of compatibility between individuals, or between a person and his/her/their environment. A good fit can improve any relationship; however, it is in the parent-child relationship that Goodness of Fit is most important. The way a child is viewed can greatly impact success.
The Importance of Parenting
To be an effective parent does not require a detailed knowledge of child development or an extensive library of sometimes-contradictory books on childhood problems. To be an effective parent, you primarily need to understand and accept your child for the person he/she/they truly is and to do your best to adapt your parenting style to the temperament and capabilities of your child. We will address how to respond to big emotions, “acting out,” irritability and anger, aggression, frustration and overwhelmed feelings, excessive worry, and how to teach and model healthy coping.
The Importance of Self-Image
An integral focus in treatment is on the child and family strengths because building on these strengths can help address vulnerabilities and areas in need of support. Feeling successful enhances one’s self-esteem. Conversely, while believing that vulnerabilities should be addressed, I discourage excessive focus on areas of lesser competence. I tend to view these more as skill-deficits that need teaching and guidance. Once again, temperament and Goodness of Fit play a key role in determining the self-image of a child.