I am a New York State licensed psychologist with over 30 years of experience. While I do see adults, a majority of my work has been with children and adolescents. I have extensive experience treating ADHD, anxiety, depression, oppositional behavior, family conflict, social problems, and school related difficulties.
I take what is known as a "common factors" approach to therapy. Common factors has extensive empirical support. It doesn't confine the therapist to any one school of therapy. Rather this approach puts forth the belief that most therapies are effective when specific factors are present. These factors include:
- the child's motivation to change
- the quality of relationship between the therapist and the child
- the specific therapeutic techniques and interventions used by the therapist
- the trust and confidence the child and the family have in the therapist
The most important factor is usually the motivation to engage in treatment. More often than not, the child has mixed feelings about changing. After all, trying something new can be scary and intimidating. In addition, children often don't come to therapy of their own accord but are told they have to by parents and/or schools. If that's the case, it becomes my responsibility to help the child see how changing will ultimately help him or her. This is accomplished by creating a strong therapeutic relationship - also referred to as the therapeutic alliance. The alliance is formed when the therapist adapts a nonjudgmental stance and displays a deep understanding of the child's issues and difficulties. I convey to the child that we are a team that will work together to solve problems,
The therapeutic interventions I use are directly related to the child's challenges. I don't identify myself as being wedded to any particular school of therapy. I have found that every child is different. Some will respond to specific techniques such as those associated with cognitive behavioral therapy. Others will respond best to some variation of talk therapy. Those children who have the capacity for insight respond particularly well to psychodynamic interventions.
One more factor I would add will sound obvious. It is the motivation of the therapist to help children change. I am passionate about my work and maintain the same level of satisfaction in helping children change as I did close to 30 years when I began my career.