Please take about 3 minutes to fill out the link below (in red). Are we a good fit for you? Please go to this link and answer a few questions that won’t take more than 5 minutes. As you may know, therapist/client rapport is an important element in a successful therapy and as such before we make the first appointment, we ask our clients to do this short screening as we want to make sure we are the best fit helping you and/or your family. As soon as we receive this, we will let you know of the next step.

Dr. Michelle Rad, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Therapy sessions may focus on five important goals on top of any situation-specific goals:

Building the child’s self-esteem
Helping to improve the child’s communication skills
Stimulating healthy, normal development
Building an appropriate emotional repertoire
Improving the child’s emotional vocabulary (Walker, 2014).

The therapist and client(s) can cover a wide variety of issues and problems in counseling, including:

Divorce or separation
Death of a loved one
Witnessing or experiencing a trauma

Family or child relocation
Substance abuse or addiction in the family
Mental illness, like depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (TherapyTribe, 2018)

The following are symptoms that may indicate a problem that child counseling can correct or help with:

Unwarranted aggression
Difficulty adjusting to social situations
Frequent nightmare and sleep difficulties
A sudden drop in grades at school
Persistent worry and anxiety
Withdrawing from activities they normally enjoy
Loss of appetite and dramatic weight loss
Performing obsessive routines like hand washing
Expressing thoughts of suicide
Talking about voices they hear in their head
Social isolation and wanting to be alone
Alcohol or drug use
Increased physical complaints despite a normal, healthy physician’s report
Self-harm such as cutting (TherapyTribe, 2018)
In addition to these issues, the child may be dealing with:

Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
Constant anger and a tendency to overreact to situations
Preoccupation with physical illness or their own appearance
An inability to concentrate, think clearly or make decisions
An inability to sit still
Dieting excessively or binging followed by vomiting or taking laxatives
Taking part in violent acts such as setting fires or killing animals (Thompson Jr., 2010)

The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs

Focus And Self Control
Children need this skill in order to achieve their goals, especially in a world that is filled
with distractions and information overload. It involves paying attention, remembering
the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self control.

Perspective Taking
Perspective Taking goes far beyond empathy: it involves figuring out what others think and
feel, and forms the basis of children understanding their parents’, teachers’, and
friends’ intentions. Children who can take others’ perspectives are also much less
likely to get involved in conflicts.

Communicating is much more than understanding language, speaking, reading and
writing – it is the skill of determining what one wants to communicate and realizing how
our communications will be understood by others. It is the skill that teachers and
employers feel is most lacking today.

Making Connections
Making Connections is at the heart of learning—figuring out what’s the same, what’s
different and sorting these things into categories. Making unusual connections is at the
core of creativity. In a world where people can google for information, it is the people
who can see the connections who are able to go beyond knowing information to using this
information well.

Critical Thinking
Critical Thinking is the ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs,
decisions, and actions.

Taking On Challenges
Life is full of stresses and challenges. Children who are willing to take on challenges
(instead of avoiding them or simply coping with them) do better in school and in life.

Self-Directed, Engaged Learning
It is through learning that we can realize our potential. As the world changes, so can
we, for as long as we live—as long as we learn.

More work as needed: 

Brain training research is still young and developing but studies suggest that some forms of brain training can have positive effects on a child’s ability to learn, his behavior, and his emotions.  This combined with CBT and other techniques used in my office can boost your child’s self esteem and confidence as well as his ability to socialize and have more self-control.   Examples of some of the tools/methods I use:

C8 Sciences
Developed by neuroscientists from Yale University, C8 Sciences’ ACTIVATE program is designed for children with ADHD, autism, executive function disorder, and other cognitive deficits. ACTIVATE is designed to enhance memory skills, improve the ability to pay attention, and boost other cognitive skills.

Play Attention
Play Attention is a learning system that uses a high-tech armband to read brain signals indicative of focus or concentration. When you are engaged or paying attention, the brain emits a signal—an attention signature. The armband monitors this signal through the body and transmits it wirelessly to the computer, so your mind becomes the mouse or joystick as you play the video games and complete the interactive exercises. The games teach you to improve focus, ignore distractions, develop memory skills, and finish tasks.

Fit Brains
This software from Rosetta Stone targets six major brain areas, improving concentration and problem-solving. The games promote crucial brain skills, such as memory, processing speed, and visual-spatial recognition. The Fit Brains system tailors each exercise to a child’s needs.

BrainBeat  is a computer-based cognitive trainer that uses a metronome-like tool, along with a headset and hand gear. Kids have to clap in rhythm while “conquering different animated worlds.” Kids participate in fourteen 20-minute sessions in which they listen to beats, clap hands, and “receive instant, measurable feedback through scoring, sounds, and light cues.” Research suggests that keeping a precise beat—called neurotiming—may be important for focus, working memory, and language processing skills.

Atentiv uses a child’s “cognitive signature” of EEG brainwave activity to measure attention, second to second. Atentiv has a headband containing an EEG-based brain-to-computer interface that precisely measures attention levels in real time. Children play the specialized video game on a computer or mobile device, using their attention levels to make their moves (no keyboard is used). Playing the game helps a child identify her “attention muscle” and strengthen it. Atentiv reports that “eight hours over an eight-week period improves a child’s academic performance and behavior at home.”

MindSparke has developed a set of video games designed to improve IQ, academic performance, and test-taking. Their product, Brain Fitness Pro, is available in a variety of forms, including “Jr.” (for kids 6-11) and “IC” to help with impulse control. MindSparke can also be used to improve academic performance and enhance studying for high-stakes tests. According to MindSparke research, doing meditation, in addition to playing the games, can increase mental gains.