As I have encountered more and more children with behavioral issues in schools and at home, and increasing complaints of difficult and non compliant children, a common denominator has become apparent in many of these situations: Parents.
As parents, we often do not appreciate the impact we have with our children. While we bring a great deal to bear on our childrens’ well being, we also can unwittingly create the behaviors we are trying so hard to extinguish. Parent-child interactions hold the key to the resolution of many of these concerns.
It is my belief that the mental health system puts too much focus on pathologizing children and not enough effort on identifying the external problems that can cause their symptoms. In working on behalf of your child, I will assume that there is nothing wrong with them per se, that their behavior can be explained in context. Instead I will look for problems that come up in the interactions between you and your child that may account for their behavioral or emotional difficulty. Together, we will develop interventions that involve changes in those interactions as the vehicle for helping your child. I have found this model to be quite effective in helping parents take their place as the best “therapists” for their children.
There are, of course, situations where this approach may not be effective. In these cases I will provide individual therapy to the child and continued consultation to the parents and will refer out for psychopharmacological evaluation when indicated. In all cases I am available to the referring physician by phone or email as needed.