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Individual Therapy

“There is in every child at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding.” Erik Erikson (1902-1994)

What is Individual Therapy?

The Individual Therapy relationship provides young people a place to be listened to and validated by, an adult who can remain objective to their personal situation. Over time, as trust develops, children, tweens, and teens typically experience increasing ease sharing their thoughts and feelings with Dr. Cohen.

  • Young people often have a difficult time sharing openly and authentically with their family members and even their friends.  They may fear hurting, disappointing, agitating, or provoking others they care about.  Young persons at times feel embarrassed , self-conscious, or critical about their feelings; they may fear judgment, disapproval, or rejection. Often youth assume that no one else will understand.
  • Individual Therapy gives youth the opportunity to express frustration, bounce ideas off another person and problem-solve in a safe environment with a neutral and supportive person.
  • The content discussed in Individual Therapy is considered confidential; however, for minor clients, a preliminary discussion is held with Dr. Cohen, the minor and the minor’s parent(s) to clarify limits and exceptions to this confidentiality agreement.

Who is Individual Therapy for?

The process of Individual Therapy provides support, insight, education, skills training, assessment, and healing for youth of varied ages and presenting concerns and goals.

  • Adolescence poses unique challenges to rising tweens (ages 10-13,) teenagers, and their parents. Decisions need to be made about the young person’s readiness for new freedoms, their bodies are changing, and they are exposed to increasing peer pressure and adult issues. Under the best of circumstances, this can be a tumultuous time. Enter life’s unforeseen, but inevitable complications and challenging circumstances and it can feel to you or your youth that you have awoken into someone else’s life.
  • Adolescents can become oppositional and defiant, irritable and regressed, or withdrawn and depressed; at times their emotional and behavioral responses appear larger than would be anticipated given the identified trigger, challenge, or situation. This is one common scenario when youth are best served by Individual Therapy.
  • At times of family upheaval, transitions, (even happy ones,) and crisis, sensitive teens may keep their feelings to themselves recognizing that others too are working hard to cope.  Yet keeping their feelings to themselves ultimately is a short term answer.  Their intentions may be unselfish, but in due time their feelings will begin to leak.  Holding them back, not attending to their needs directly, they may find themselves self-medicating or if especially triggered they may find themselves regretting how they responded.
  • Young children who are articulate, as well as those who engage in symbolic play, are also able to benefit from Individual Therapy.
  • Individual Therapy can be used to help youth and family members clarify circumstances contributing to a child’s demonstration of significantly different behavior, in different settings, with different parents or caregivers. Engaging with young children in a controlled environment, Dr. Cohen can begin to hypothesize what influences are distressing the young person.

How does Individual Therapy work?

Dr. Cohen begins treatment assessing the appropriateness of Individual Therapy for each youth.  If it is determined that individual therapy is an appropriate intervention, then the next step is to clarify what treatment goals the client and family are requesting be addressed.

  • Depending on the age of the youth, and the presenting concerns, the assessment may begin with the youth, or the youth’s parents. The assessment involves questioning the youth and/or the parents in pertinent areas of the child and family’s history, the child’s development, and the context of the family’s concerns. In the process of understanding each family members’ perspective, Dr. Cohen begins to establish relationships with the youth and the family.
  • Other information Dr. Cohen incorporates into the assessment includes the youth’s attitude toward therapy, strengths, and cultural background, along with their willingness and capacity to engage in treatment. This information is then used in developing the youth’s treatment plan. Dr. Cohen draws from her years of experience, various psychological and behavioral theories and evidence based treatments to address the treatment goals with the youth in the context of the developing therapeutic relationship.
  • Once a therapeutic relationship is established, youth are often motivated to learn new skills and appropriate ways to voice their needs. They become motivated to take the requisite “action,” to achieve their personal goals
  • Throughout, as well as, at the conclusion of a youth’s individual therapy, Dr. Cohen encourages her young clients to share as comfortable, the thoughts, insights, feelings, and needs they have identified with their family members. Whether they have identified the need for support to improve problem-solving and communication skills, want family members to better recognize each others’ perspective, or need assistance expanding their repertoire of effective coping skills, following individual therapy youth are often willing to share their insights with their family.
  • To maximize the efficacy of treatment, Dr. Cohen facilitates this communication, makes recommendations, identifies skills, and supports facilitation of parent-youth contracts and agreements to assist families with supporting their child. Dr. Cohen is dedicated to providing all family members the encouragement, education, tools, and skills they need to navigate quality family life and stress free relationships.

Each young person and each family presents with different needs, and circumstances. Now is a good time to reach out to Dr. Cohen for your initial complimentary consultation, or through the web-site contact page with any questions you may have.

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