Mental Health Therapy

I believe therapeutic change is relational, historical, and formed in a symbolically rich space. 


About Infant Mental Health

Infant mental health provides psycho-education through parent-child psychotherapy to uncover the underlying needs for both parent and child in moments of stress. Sometimes that means reflecting on the history of the parent's memory of being parented. Sometimes it means discovering rituals to soothe the parent prior to soothing the child. Sometimes it means finding creative child-like ways of expressing emotions without words.

Research tells us the brain develops fastest in the first few years of life. Much of the positive growth is attributed to strong relationships between an infant and toddler and their primary caregivers. When the caregiver provides consistent and available reflection of emotions and needs then the child grows a sense of how to handle their feelings and how to think and feels about themselves. Loving, understanding, and predictable parenting provides the rituals and routines needed for a child to develop the beginnings of their personality with security. This early sense of trust establishes emotionally stronger children, teens and adults. 

 

What to Expect in a Session

I believe actions often speak louder than words. So when it comes to strengthening relationships, much of how I work is with symbol, movement, and play before speaking. Sometimes I will have directives and specific activities to try, but often I will create a space for both adults and children to interact differently. Then we will reflect and create new names for what is happening in the relationship.

The work may be focused on strengthening the parent's confidence in parenting; identifying the feeling underlying the disruptive behaviors of the child; supporting both parent and child in positive separation and reunion experiences; decreasing throwing, kicking, screaming, and crying episodes through supportive play and new rhythms of communication.

Services for young children are often best in the home. Sessions are held for 50-60 minutes. A session generally begins with an update from the week including any major changes for the child or family, along with general updates, celebrations, and stresses. Then the hour will be spent on the floor in play (generally with the family's things - although I will bring toys at time to prompt specific experiences). There will be a balancing of open play led by the child and directives created by me. The session will end with clean up and reflections of the time, lessons learned and information to hold for the week. Due to the pace of growth and development for children below age 5, it is best to be seen weekly.


“Becoming a parent, in more or less conscious ways, puts people in touch both with their own childhood and their parents. This looking backwards and forwards, so strong at this particular point in life, is a key aspect in the development of the personality. A developmental push forward, however, is only possible if a previous phase of life can be mourned and worked through.”
— Ruth Seglow & Hamish Canham