My passion is helping children, teens, and their families in times of crisis. I desire to equip you with skills to thrive. I enjoy implementing activity-based, play, and art therapies.
Children communicate through play – whether they are acting something out using puppets, building a scene in the sand tray, creating rules for a game, or painting a canvas, play is their language and they use mediums such as toys, puppets, paintbrushes, and sand tray miniatures to communicate. The purpose of play, art, activity, and sand therapy is to provide the child a space to express themselves through mediums in which they prefer to communicate. Play allows children to engage the world around them through exploration and begin to master their surroundings. What may seem unmanageable in the world outside of the playroom becomes manageable through play. Play allows children to create imaginary situations, adopt and act out roles, and adhere to a set of rules. They grow in the skills of planning, self-regulation, and self-reflection. Sessions allow children to make choices, express themselves, and process emotions in a safe environment. They are provided healthy and safe avenues for self-expression and can create and practice alternative interactions that translate to everyday life. These skills are practiced in the playroom and encouraged to be implemented at home.
Virginia Axline describes play therapy as the following: “Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self expression ... It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as in certain types of adult therapy an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.”
Teen therapy will look like more traditional counseling where talking is the primary form of communication. To make the therapeutic process more personal and engaging, activity-based and art therapy based interventions might be used during sessions to enhance the therapeutic experience.
Parent-Child Relationship Therapy
Using Theraplay principles, the relationship between a child and parent will be the focus of these sessions.
The Theraplay Institute describes Theraplay as "a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.
In treatment, the Theraplay therapist guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child’s behavior and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy."
Family therapy is a time for the identified client and their parents (and sometimes siblings) to participate in a session together. The focus of these sessions is to strengthen communication between each family member and practice skills together in a fun, positive environment with the support of the counselor. Other goals might be to improve the family's ability to problem solve and express emotions in a healthy way as well as discussing family roles, strengths, and needs.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), including a type of CBT called Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), are the most effective treatments for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and related anxiety disorders. Sometimes, individuals with OCD also benefit from medication which can only be prescribed by a licensed medical professional. Referrals to local psychiatrists are provided if needed.
Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE)
SPACE is a parent-based treatment program for parents of children with OCD, anxiety, and other related disorders. The focus of treatment is changes the parents can make to their own behavior. Parents will learn skills and tools to help their child while learning how to increase support and decrease accommodation.
Occasionally, Restoring Connections will provide opportunities for group counseling. Information about these groups will be shared as they are scheduled. In the past, Megan has facilitated social skills groups, teen groups, and groups for children whose parents have divorced.