What is play therapy?
Primarily used for children, play therapy involves a trained practitioner (that’s me!) encouraging the client to use toys, age-appropriate language, and games to explore life events that are affecting current circumstances and behavior.
I practice child-led therapy, where the child directs the pace of the session – this allows them to really explore their emotions and process unresolved trauma. Child-led therapy involves the use of art, dolls, a sand tray, books, imaginative play, costumes, and puppets. The most important factor in play therapy is the relationship between the therapist and the child, and that your child feels like they are safe and respected.
What is Child-Parent Psychotherapy?
CPP is a dyadic, relationship-based therapy that was developed to promote and facilitate attachment and healing between children and their caregivers. Parents participate in CPP, which makes it different from play therapy. It is appropriate for children who have experienced domestic violence, incarceration or separation, sexual abuse, the death of a caregiver, perinatal mood disorders, and other significant traumatic events.
Which type of therapy is best for my kid?
We can figure that out together! Every child is different and has their own set of needs.
What can you help with?
Most of my training and expertise is in working with children who have dealt with significant trauma. This includes children who have experienced sexual assault, physical abuse and/or neglect, the death of a parent or sibling, parental incarceration, domestic violence, and those in the foster care system.
What do you know how to do?
I am trained in the following:
- Child-Centered Play Therapy
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- TraumaPlay (formerly the Flexibly Sequential Play Therapy trauma model)
- Child-Parent Psychotherapy
- Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
- Circle of Security
Do you accept insurance?
I am currently unable to accept insurance, but I do have a limited number of sliding scale spots, and I offer reduced rates for children in foster care. Contact me for more information.
Who are you the best fit for?
Everyone has different needs in a mental health provider, and children are no different. What works for one person doesn’t work for another, and it doesn’t mean anyone is doing anything wrong. There are plenty of excellent play therapists here in Athens (I share an office with a whole bunch of them). It can be hard to know who will be the best fit for your child – I get it! I can help. First and foremost, I love children and love working with them. My entire professional career has focused on helping children feel safe, secure, and loved, and giving parents the tools to provide these things for their kids. I am more than happy to make whatever referrals you need.
What experience do you have?
I’ve worked in many different settings and situations: caring for small children and teenagers in emergency shelters, conducting home visits for adults and children with developmental disabilities, providing support to women who are struggling with perinatal mood disorders, and helping families with medically fragile children access services.
In addition to providing therapy, I’m also currently working with the Department of Public Health with a program called Babies Can’t Wait – I provide early intervention services to children and families in rural areas in Oglethorpe, Morgan, and Greene counties. I’m also trained in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, so I am comfortable working with children as young as 18 months old. If this doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for, I’m happy to help you find a therapist who would be a better fit.
OK, I’m in. How do we get started?
The first time we meet, I’ll conduct what is called an intake, and I will always ask that parents attend this. This is just going to be information gathering – I am going to ask you a ton of nosy questions. Sometimes your child should attend with you to get comfortable in the playroom, but under some circumstances, you might want to discuss things with me outside your child’s hearing. This is particularly important if your child has experienced abuse or trauma. If this is the case, feel free to come by yourself to the intake. Because securing childcare can be tricky, we can always conduct the intake via telehealth. We will come up with some goals, and you will decide if I seem like a good fit for your family.
Can you make my kid behave?
I can’t even make my own kids behave, so probably not. But I might be able to tell you what they’re trying to accomplish with the behavior.
How long is this going to take?
Every child is different, and timelines are unpredictable and depend on a lot of different factors. I promise I’ll always be transparent about the progress your child is making.
Can I stay for the session?
We never want your child to feel unsafe or out of control when coming to therapy, but, for play therapy, ideally we will be working towards having caregivers wait outside during therapy. This might take a few visits.
For CPP, you’re with us the whole time.
Can you be my therapist too?
I am currently only working with children and families, but I have a long list of excellent local therapists I would be happy to refer you to. Your mental health is just as important as your child’s.
Dress your kid in clothes that can get messed up. Be patient. You know more than you think you do. You’re doing great. Your kid is doing great. Children are resilient. Thank you so much for trusting me with your child.