"One of the essential features of the child motif is its futurity. The child is potential future." C. G. Jung
Getting to know you and your Child
My work in the field of Jungian Child Psychotherapy and Sandplay therapy is to help children make good choices during the elementary and middle school periods, to resolve sleep, emotional, and behavioral problems, help children become better socially adapted, and excel academically. As a child psychotherapist, this process of helping children grow interpersonally is accelerated through the transformative principle of play. Play therapy is a powerful method used universally by child psychotherapists. One of the techniques I use in my child practice is sandplay; another is interactive therapeutic games, such as chess, checkers, marbles, and scrabble.
Before your child can get to the sand tray, or floor games, I often tell the child: "We need to talk to your parents first." This getting to know the child through talking can take a while, sometimes several weeks. In doing this, I am intentionally setting up a situation whereby your child has to learn to delay his or her gratification, in my office. This puts you, the parents, and myself in family therapy, in the position of having to set limits together. In this way I can offer you support and thence see for myself how your child responds to limits we are now imposing and view your child's emotional reactions to the simple, sometimes repetitive words, "not yet." For my play shelves are crowded with an array of tempting toys, little figurines, animals, golden coins, and natural objects, such as crystals and precious stones, which are very hard to resist putting into the sand tray. (Above you can see a picture of a child's sand tray).
Thus, the first few sessions form a context for gathering information about your child and your parent-child interactions, whereby I will observe and assess your child's behavioral patterns, and learn about presenting problems, anxieties, depression, or other symptoms. This includes filling me in on what teachers, doctor, or the school principle might have to say about your child's social or educational difficulties or learning deficits.
In the very first session I explain to a child that I am not the kind of doctor who gives shots! I do this to reduce his or her anxiety, right away. This frees us up to laugh a little, relax, and for me to ask you to explain in your child's presence why he or she is in my office now to see me today: "What brings you here at this time? What is happening at home and at school? Are you having any nightmares? Are you wetting your bed? Are you fighting with your brother or sister? Are you having problems with your teacher? Are you being picked on or bullied by anyone on the play yard?" I ask such questions, in your presence, so you can become comfortable with me with your child. Then, once we are comfortable together, I introduce myself to the child directly as a "feelings doctor" to let the child know that the therapy is going to be focused on the child's emotions.
Understanding the “roots” of your child's emotional conflicts in interactions with you is one of the best tools for my assessment. I offer Jungian child psychotherapy, family therapy, play therapy, education, teaching of effective parenting skills, tips on effective discipline, and modeling good parenting skills.
Getting a full history and medical report from you while your child is listening is crucial for your child's learning about him or herself. Child counseling and psychotherapy is about teaching your child in my presence and with my therapeutic help to have good impulse control and to reflect rather than react to negative affects that arise involuntarily through misbehavior, as well as to feel true joy.
It is important for child psychotherapists to teach children to practice self-reflection, by means of certain specialized methods, which are not always understood by a layperson. So, it takes a little patience while I educate you and your child about the process of meeting the psychotherapy goals. Psychotherapeutic treatment goals are set up in the first few visits. I will ask you to sign an informed consent form to initiate treatment of your child. To know when it is time to refer your child to a psychiatrist for medications, psychological testing, group, or family treatment requires evaluative skills on my part.
It is important for parents and psychotherapists to understand furthermore how crucial the task of developing the personality of a child is in their full emotional, moral and intellectual development. Emotional exchanges between children and child therapists is a form of therapy itself, a real medicine. Behavioral problems may sometimes be channeled into sports or improved study habits once a child's wellsprings of motivation have been tapped.
As a child psychotherapist I work with all types of children from many ethnicities and socio-economic groups. I have a limited number of after-school hours that I typically reserve for my child patients, boys and girls alike. Please, feel free to give me a call to set up an initial appointment if you like. I enjoy my work with children and families and find the work to be greatly rewarding as it is central to my vocation.
Copyright © 2022 Steven Herrmann, Ph.D., MFT - All Rights Reserved.
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