Child and Family Therapy

I specialize in treating trauma. This includes treating children who have experienced trauma. Many situations can be traumatic for children, as they are not able to understand and process events in the same way as adults. 

Children often do not know how to deal with the stressors they face so they cope in other ways or exhibit symptoms: 

  • Nightmares

  • Overwhelming fears 

  • Lack of appetite

  • Regressing to a younger state

  • Lack of concentration

  • Trouble performing in school

 

How I Can Help

Getting to the root of the problem is the first step in helping your child work through the stressors and traumatic situations they have experienced. Depending on the age of the child, play therapy (including drawing/colouring) may be one of the tools used along with talk therapy.

 

Play-focused therapy is a therapeutic approach that provides children with the opportunity to ‘play out’ feelings and problems. Toys are used to symbolically represent their inner and outer worlds.

 

Through the use of play the therapist is allowed into the child’s world and enabled to communicate with the child at their level which allows the child to make sense of their experiences. Play- focused therapy is a particularly appropriate treatment for children who have experienced trauma. Traumatic memories are stored at a sensory level and play allows these memories to be expressed and explored non-verbally. Eventually these memories can be integrated into a more verbal narrative.

 

An appropriate combination of structure, acceptance, and attunement in the therapeutic relationship, creates a sense of safety for the child. By projecting feelings and experiences onto toys, children are able to create psychological distance from which to explore traumatic material. Play therapy allows the child to externalize their story, where it can then be better understood and worked through.

How Child Therapy Helps

The following applies to children who have experienced trauma as well as those who have not:

  • Providing a safe space to talk about their fears or worries

  • Learning to identify and communicate feelings and thoughts in a healthy way

  • Teaching emotional regulation skills

  • Coping skills for how to stop racing thoughts

  • Improving self-esteem, communication skills and self-worth

  • Understanding boundaries

Child Trauma Therapy in Toronto, ON

 

What To Expect With Online Therapy

The first session is done with the parent(s) or primary caregivers. In a household with two parents as the primary caregivers, it is preferable that both are present for this. 

 

The first session will consist of an initial intake and assessment of your child's well being as well as an intake of your personal/family history and background. This allows me to gather relevant information and saves time. We will discuss the logistics of online therapy, such as ensuring that your child has space where they have quiet and privacy to speak freely. While conducting online therapy, I may also ask your child to come to the session with certain objects that we may use throughout the session. Examples may be a stuffed animal that makes them feel safe or crayons/markers and paper if we will be drawing.

All sessions will be 50 minutes in length. For younger children in online therapy, I will usually ask you to assist your child to ensure they are able to access the session and to be present for your child at the end of their session time. I usually offer parents brief updates every few sessions. Typically I work with children age 7+ however, there are situations where I have made exceptions to do work with children as young as 4 years of age. Please contact me if you would like to discuss this. 

 

Counselling for Children and Families in Etobicoke, ON

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For the health and safety of clients and staff, the office has a fragrance- free policy. Please refrain from wearing scented products when attending your appointments. Service dogs are welcome.
Kennedy McLean Counselling & Psychotherapy Services Online Counselling and Telephone Psychological Therapy and Psychotherapy throughout Ontario, Canada including Toronto, North York, Vaughan, Thornhill, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Brampton, Guelph, Hamilton, Burlington, and Oakville. Kennedy McLean © 2020