Children are born living fully from their hearts, with great curiosity and a deep hunger to belong and to matter. Sadly, children learn to deny, numb, or hide these true feelings and needs in order to secure the love and belonging their hearts long for. Often, the “presenting problem” that brings an adolescent to therapy is the result of unhealthy or destructive attempts to manage, escape, or hide their hearts. Being an adolescent is a unique and vulnerable time when relationships and feelings of connectedness are important.

The relationship that develops between the therapist and the adolescent is very important. It is through the dynamic relationship between the child and therapist that true change and healing can occur. The process of “recovering” the heart of a child involves giving them permission to express their truest feelings, needs, desires, and longing by telling their stories within a safe relationship. It is important for them to feel safe, seen and heard. This type of trusting environment makes it much easier for the child to express his/her thoughts and feelings and to use the therapy process in a helpful way. 

My approach to adolescent therapy is designed to give a teenager freedom to grow and explore values, skills and beliefs in a safe and healthy environment. Having a trained professional that respects their individuality and whom provides a safe place for self-definition, is an integral part in using their inner resources to realize and/or form lifelong coping skills. I feel it is important for adolescents to have a voice in shaping their lives and thus the therapeutic process.

I also support parents in understanding how their own stories impact their ability to give their children the safety and wholehearted relationship they need to heal. Children are able to overcome immeasurable suffering if they feel cared for, supported by, and understood by at least one primary caregiver.

Adolescent Therapy Sessions

~ Individual Therapy in Virginia Beach , VA~ Couples Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA~ Adolescent Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA~ Art Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA~

I am also a Registered Art Therapist (ATR), I often use the art process to support the child to heal in his or her own manner and time, while also giving the child responsibility for and control of the growth and successes. I work with parents and adolescents to create goals for the therapy process, they may be specific (change in behavior, improved relations with friends or family), or more general (less anxiety, better self-esteem). The length of psychotherapy depends on the complexity and severity of problems. I have found that during therapy in their own way and time, children emerge resilient and resourceful with better coping skills and a healthy world view.

Counseling helps adolescents in a variety of ways. They receive emotional support, resolve conflicts with people, understand feelings and problems, and try out new solutions to old problems, such as these below:  

~ Difficult Developmental Life Transitions/Stressors

~ Divorce Adjustment
~ Academic Struggles
~ Peer Relationship Dynamics
        ~ Peer Pressure

        ~ Bullying
~ Self-exploration/Sense of Self

~ Mastering Communication Skills
~ Relaxation Skills
~ Depression/Sadness
~ Anxiety
~ Self-Injurious Behavior

~ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
~ Disordered Eating
~ Behavioral Problems
~ Gender Identity

~ Tree of Life Counseling & Art Therapy, LLC ~
~913 First Colonial Road, Suite 201 Virginia Beach, VA 23454 ~757-679-5553~ 
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