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The power of play

Psychotherapists and psychoanalysts have long recognised the value of nondirective play-based therapy.  This is when a child is given free-reign to play with what resources they please, however they like, in the presence of a trained psychotherapist. What this looks like in my playroom, is that the child is invited to choose from resources such as a sand tray, art supplies, building blocks and a doll house, and to play with them.  Equally, there are free not to choose. &...

November 30, 2020

What children need when you divorce

Parental separation is very much children’s business as well as their parents'.  While it may be best for the family, parental separation makes children unhappy.  Yes, children are “resilient”, but children are no more likely than adults to “get over it”.  Having their family split up is always deeply disruptive and usually sad for children of all ages, from birth to adulthood. What makes a difference for children is the recognition that parents matter to ...

October 12, 2020

Options for treating depression in adolescents

Many adolescents in Aotearoa New Zealand present with depressive-like symptoms, including but not limited to feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness and difficulty sleeping, eating and concentrating.  It’s important that these are treated because maintenance of the symptoms below a certain level is associated with less risk of depression in adulthood.  My experience is often medical practitioners and the general population know about and recommend CBT (cognitive behav...

September 17, 2020

The emotional impact of masks on children

Children wearing face masks, or being around others wearing face masks, is a relatively new experience in Aotearoa New Zealand because until last week we had been over 100 days free of community transmission of Covid-19. There are a few things to keep in mind for tamariki in terms of their emotional experience of masks.  For example, the masks might feel and look frightening to children, and communication will be more difficult for them, especially for young infants and children who re...

August 20, 2020

Preparing your child or young person to see me

Many parents want to know what to say to their child about coming to see me.  How to prepare them depends on your child’s temperament and why they are coming.  There are no hard and fast rules.  You know your child best, so keep reading and see if these ideas appeal. Regardless of age, it’s best not to link the visit to “bad” behaviour such as school refusal, hitting your brother or not listening to the teacher.  Just simply say that I work with ch...

August 5, 2020

What is “infant” (0-5 years) mental health?

The term “infant mental health” can seem strange because it is difficult to differentiate the mental life of infants (this includes zero to five-year-olds) from their parents and caregivers. However, it is also abolsolutely true also that infants do have their own minds which deserve recognition and attention.   We also know that very important parts of our minds are established in infancy and childhood which have a big impact on our lives in the future.  Therefore infant...

July 13, 2020

What's the difference between a Psychotherapist and a Psychologist?

This is a question I get asked a lot.  It’s not that easy to answer because there are as many variations within psychotherapists and psychologists as there are between them, but I will have a go. Psychotherapists Generally, psychotherapy refers to any kind of therapy which is psychotherapeutic.  It normally refers to talking therapies.  Many people can practice psychotherapy, including psychologists.   However to call yourself a Psychotherapist in A...

June 3, 2020

Intensities of the bright and young

The labels of immaturity, moodiness and excessive emotionality put a negative light on children who experience life intensely.  This can become evident during family holidays, when the absence of friends and school, different routines and rhythms, travel and new experiences sees all that intensity getting funnelled onto and into family members.It can be helpful to keep in mind that these children are often, compared to the many others, more sensitive, or more excitable, in one or more realm...

April 4, 2020

Homegoing - intergenerational trauma

In our psychotherapy training, we learn about how families develop themes that get passed through generations, usually without them even realising it.  The term intergenerational trauma gets used a lot to describe how the effects of trauma like war, poverty, colonisation and migration can be felt by all the children born thereafter in a family that experiences the original trauma. For example, some children in Christchurch suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), even th...

March 2, 2020

Grief in childhood

Many children experience loss of a loved one during early childhood. Later in childhood, they can find they can’t consciously remember their loved one, which complicates their grief process.As they grow older, for each new stage of development, children may need to reprocess their grief, and this continues into adulthood.  Because they “can’t remember”, they do not escape the grieving that adults do, they just have to go through it as their development and environment enables them. ...

February 3, 2020

The new school year

It is that time of the year, in Aotearoa New Zealand, when we experience new beginnings- a new school, job, class, friends.  With them often come child-like anxieties and concerns, which are we are taught to disregard in ourselves, and in our children.  Will they like me? Will I be different?  Will I be able to do the work?  Will the teacher know me? But, far from being irrational, studies have shown that these feelings remind us of our experiences as newborn babies. &nb...

January 6, 2020 Posts 1-11 of 11 | Page
 

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