Child and Adolescent Counseling
Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD / ADHD)
ADD and ADHD are said to be the fastest growing childhood disorder in the United States. It is reported that as many as 9 to 10% of school aged children are affected by these disorders.
Some symptoms of ADD include:
- easily distracted
- poor concentration
- absentmindedness, poor memory
- emotional instability
- sleep disturbances
- sloppy or impulsively done school assignments or household chores
- racing thoughts or brain chatter
Some symptoms of ADHD include the above as well as:
- A tendency to disturb other children
- inability to sit still
- low stress tolerance
- Failure in school despite having intelligence
- easily frustrated
- disruptive in classroom
- impulsive, unpredictable or daring behavior
- clumsiness or awkwardness
- self-destructive behavior
Living with ADD or ADHD is difficult and frustrating for both the parents and the child. Your family doctor or a psychiatrist may have prescribed medication for your child. Perhaps, right now, it seems the only way to manage the illness is with medication.
As holistic practitioners, we are not necessarily against all medication, however, our desire would be to help your child reach a point of emotional and physical health where he/she will not need medication. Our goal is to help treat the CAUSE of any illness through psychotherapy and nutritional recommendations. (There are dietary recommendations and vitamin supplements that are beneficial in the treatment of these disorders).
One of the things that I find particularly sad about these disorders is that they leave your child feeling that they are “different” and “not good enough”. Your child’s self-esteem and level of happiness are probably diminished as a result of the illness. This cannot be easy for any parent to watch.
You may have done everything in your power to try and help your child, but have found that the disorder still persists or there has been only slight improvement. Inner Light Counseling and Holistic Center currently has four (4) experienced child therapists on staff, all of whom have experience with ADD and ADHD. Our child therapists can help your child through the use of Supportive Therapy, Play Therapy, Art Therapy, or through the use of Journey processes.
Children of Divorce
One of the best things a parent can do to help a child through the grief process and changes that come with a marital separation or divorce is allow them to talk to a child therapist.
How Divorce or Marital Separation affects children:
- Children blame themselves for their parents divorce. This is one way for them to try and explain it or make sense out of it. They have a tendency to believe that their shortcomings are the cause of their parents’ separation.
- Children feel tempted to take a side. Children of divorce want to love their mother and they want to love their father. It is too easy for a parent to speak negatively about the other parent to their child/children. The best thing you can do for your child is to resist the urge to speak against the other parent and rather truly assure them that it is ok to love the other parent.
- Children feel angry or upset towards the parent that initiated the separation or divorce.
- Children feel instability in their living situation. It is a big adjustment for a child to go from living with both parents to living in 2 different homes with only one parent.
- Children’s self esteem can and often is affected by the divorce/separation.
All of the above effects of being a child of a divorce/marital separation can be mitigated if a child has a safe place to talk and express his/her feelings about this huge loss and change in their lives. Inner Light Counseling has many therapists that specialize in working with children and adolescents on many issues including divorce and separation.
It is a difficult thing for any child to suffer from learning disabilities. Through no fault of their own, they are faced with a daily battle that affects their esteem and social life. Children with learning disabilities face so many different struggles. These include such things as frustration, poor self-esteem, feeling “different” from the other children, social isolation and withdrawal, being teased by the other children, a misunderstanding parent, to name just a few.
All the while, the parent also faces how this illness affects them as well. You want to help your child with their schoolwork, but even still, they struggle. There have to be times when you, yourself are tired after a day of work and yet you still make the time to sit down and help your child. Unfortunately, learning disabilities do affect children emotionally and receiving professional help from a therapist can help them realize that “they are OK as they are” and that “it is not their fault that they have difficulties with learning” and most of all “they are not stupid.”
Does your child seem to be more withdrawn or depressed lately? Does he/she seem to be moodier or acting out at home? Perhaps he/she is more disrespectful or defiant lately. (This can be especially true of teenagers). It could be that these behaviors are a result of issues or traumas your child has experienced whether at school, with neighborhood children, through the death of loss of a loved one or friend, or some miscommunication at home with a parent. It could be they are struggling with their adjustment to a new school or simply being a teenager with the subsequent peer pressure and identity issues this stage of development brings.
Helping your child discover the causes of the behavioral or mood changes can be a big help in assisting your child in moving through the difficult time period. In discovering the causes a therapist can help the child work through the issue or issues and develop a greater sense of self esteem and level of well being as a result.
It is sad and very unfair when children feel they have no friends or they find themselves being picked on by other children through no fault of their own. If your child is shy and has the difficulty feeling like a part of the class or neighborhood, then chances are they are in a lot of emotional pain.
In these or similar circumstances, it is so important that a child has someone to talk to about these experiences, so they do not internalize the abuse or social shyness as a defect within themselves. It is also important that your child learn skills and techniques to either protect themselves from the abuse, (and help prevent further occurrence) and ways to overcome their social shyness. This is where an experienced child therapist may be of help to your child.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Inner Light Counseling has on the staff a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, LCADC as well as an Experienced Alcohol and Drug Counselor working with Adolescents.
Whether it is yourself or a loved one that is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, it is a common problem that hurts everyone. As a person suffering from this kind of addiction you can be riddled with a sense of powerlessness, guilt and shame. It leads one to feelings of despair, anxiety and depression. Addiction lowers your self of self worth and self-confidence. Fear of being caught or fear of never being able to overcome the addiction can feel overwhelming.
Your life can feel completely out of control. Your family life and career could be seriously affected.
Sometimes the desire to stop is so great – but the temptation hits to drink or take a drug and your willpower or resolve seems to weaken. Don’t despair. Millions have conquered their addiction and so can you.
At Inner Light Counseling Center we take a 12-Step approach to helping you win your right to break free from addiction. We will be there to support you through your recovery.
When your child or teenager has been in an intensive outpatient, inpatient or partial inpatient program it is crucial that they continue with individual therapy to help solidify the use of the new tools they have learned and help prevent a relapse in substance abuse, behavioral problems or symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, for this very reason, you won’t find a rehab program of any kind that will discharge a patient without having an appointment scheduled with an outpatient therapist.
We work with many intensive IOP programs as well as drug and alcohol programs in the area and have many qualified therapists who can help your child continue their progress and prevent relapse.
Grief and Loss
Coping with the loss of someone you love is one of life’s greatest stressors and creates the greatest pain. The pain of the loss is oftentimes so overwhelming. These feelings include sadness, extreme pain, loss, loneliness, despair, sometimes guilt, anger and sometimes shock. It is normal to want to cry all the time, or want to die. You may not want to wake up in the mornings. The despair and pain can be unbearable. Losing someone you love can lead to a severe depression.
How can I get through this? That is a question you may ask yourself. While you may want to isolate and though that may be ok sometimes, it can be very harmful and prevent your healing if you spend too much time alone. What you need most during such a difficult time is love and caring. Sometimes you just need someone to listen without saying a word, someone who will just allow you to feel your feelings of grief, loss and anger. ( without trying to fix it for you).
You don’t need to go through this alone. Talking to someone who cares about what will help you get through it.
Other forms of loss include divorce, loss of job, loss of your health, loss of finances. All these losses create real feelings of grief and pain and anger. They can severely affect the quality of your life. Talking to someone who understands will definitely help.
One of the saddest things a child can face is continued bullying. The other child has most likely been bullied at home in some manner, or perceives him/herself as better than your child. It is likely your child is a tender hearted and loving child and the bully perceives this as weakness. Your child may be physically, verbally, emotionally and/or socially bullied. Bullying causes depression, anxiety and low self esteem.
The more your child talks about the bullying incidents, the more he/she can learn that they don’t need to believe the messages the bullies are trying to send to them. They can learn the value of their self worth and start to believe the truth about themselves; that they are good enough no matter what is being said to them they are LOVABLE.
Help your child overcome the negative effects of bullying by reaching out to a counselor who specializes in children and issues of bullying. Inner Light Counseling has many child and adolescent therapists on staff who want to help your child heal and grow stronger.
Child abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or verbal. Any kind of child abuse is completely unacceptable. Children are helpless, they are vulnerable, they are powerless. They deserve nothing but love, guidance and healthy discipline.
Our child protection laws fail to protect our children in the way that a child deserves and needs to be protected. That is a sad fact. You as a parent, however, can take steps to protect your child through various means. Every county has a Child Protection Agency as well as a Domestic Violence Shelter. In addition, you can get your child into counseling with a therapist who is experienced in domestic violence and child abuse.
Your child may be fearful of the abusive parent or adult, they may feel depressed, anxious, have behavioral problems at school and at home, become self critical, develop low self esteem, have anger issues, etc. All of these effects can be decreased and improved upon if your child has a safe place to talk.
Our child therapists will help your child focus on the feelings and thoughts about the abuse through the use of play therapy, art therapy, or talk therapy depending on your child’s age.
The therapist will take a gentle and safe approach to helping your child heal from the effects of having suffered any form of child abuse.