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Child Therapy in Oakland, CA

You’re worried about your little one. You’ve tried everything you can think of — getting advice from friends or family, reading parenting books and blogs — and still nothing seems to change your child’s behavior for the better.

The toddlers and preschoolers I see often struggle with the following:

  • Aggression (e.g., biting, hitting, or spitting)
  • Tantrums
  • Sleeping problems
  • Delays or regressions in potty learning
  • Frustration tolerance
  • Clinginess (AKA “separation anxiety”)
  • Impulsivity
  • Restlessness and high activity
  • Negative moods
  • Defiance towards parents and other caregivers
  • Reluctance to play with other children

No one knows your child like you, that’s why I make it a point to team up with parents to understand the child’s struggles and find solutions as quickly as possible.

Some parents breathe a sigh of relief when I give them concrete tools for preventing mishaps and responding effectively to their child. Other parents just need someone to help them think deeply about their child’s needs. More often than not, I support parents with actionable suggestions AND collaborative reflection.

It all starts with an assessment that typically lasts 5-6 weekly sessions. I meet with parents first to hear your observations and worries. Then I meet the child in my office and observe him/her at school. When it’s helpful, I also consult with teachers and pediatricians. Finally, I present the parents with a preliminary plan for helping the child and family. We finalize the plan together and start the work of weekly therapy and regular parenting consultation sessions, typically 1-4 times per month.

With young children ages 0-5, I often invite the parents into the play room. This gives us the chance to work directly on the child-parent relationship, one of the most important factors in a child’s behavioral health. With older children, we meet individually to give them the greatest opportunity to show what’s bothering them without the fear of hurting their parents’ feelings or violating family norms.

This is why we use play in child therapy:  It helps the young ones begin to solve their biggest problems. But kids can’t solve every problem on their own just by playing. I help them uncover and articulate their thoughts and feelings by observing them closely, strategically joining them in the play, and giving a voice to the things that scare them.

This can help tremendously to shrink impulsivity and aggression and trade them for more age-appropriate behaviors.

Even though parenting in the early years can feel overwhelming, there really is reason for hope in every family. It’s not that love cures all; it’s more like love + reflection + wise action cures most everything. No doubt you’ve got the first one. The key is to find the right therapist to help with the last two.

Click the button or complete the form below to see if we’re a good fit.