Sometimes as adults we have trouble navigating through life or are met with trauma, anxiety, grief, depression, anger management issues, or family/relationship conflict. Our children and teens face difficulties and complications as well. Therapy provides a safe space for kids and teens to open up, talk about, and work through the obstacles they are facing. It is a place for them to feel validated and develop the tools to work through their issues, both those they are facing now, and the tools to work through any issues they may face in the future.
Every day, children and teens are facing new obstacles and learning how to interact with peers and authority figures. Whether your child is struggling with academic success, behavior in school or at home, anxiety, depression, past trauma, disordered eating, communication, self-esteem, stress, grief, or understanding their own emotions – we are here to help. Through therapy your child will learn the skills necessary to face and overcome their unique obstacles as well as the skills to face new experiences in the future. Ultimately, through overcoming these obstacles, therapy can help strengthen the bonds of your family.
Meet our Child and Adolescent therapists:
Drew Erickson – children and adolescents
Sarah O’Leary – adolescents
Sarah accrued hours at the UCSD Eating Disorder clinic working with adolescents and their families. Sarah works from a biopsychosocial perspective. She works to get a holistic view of each teen that comes for a therapy session with her. Your teenage years are formidable – and complex. You are exploring yourself, the world, and future opportunities. You are breaking away from past roles and creating new ones. You are learning about yourself in a new way – your inner world and your outer world. You are exploring new relationships, and re-examining existing ones – peers, friends, teachers/coaches, family. All this exploring and learning is on top of your school work, sports, and extracurriculars! That’s a lot!
Sarah is here to cultivate a safe space where you can be unequivocally yourself. To feel fulfilled and successful in your daily life, and be able to set goals for yourself. This takes time to figure out! And there will be a lot of changes along the way. You’re not in this alone. Together, Sarah works with her adolescent and young adult clients to meet goals they create together.
Sarah provides tools and helps garner skills that can be applied in a variety of situations, for the rest of your life. That might sound extreme, but what you are learning now can be implemented throughout your life! That includes facing stress, working through distress, overcoming anxiety (including social anxieties), and improving your mood. This also includes learning about and understanding your emotions, self-regulation, and coping skills. This is creating healthy habits, and healthy views of yourself and the world. These tools and skills work to improve self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love. Additionally, relationship and communication tools that can be implemented with family, friends, teammates, work, or romantic partners.
Young Ju – children
Through the use of a culturally and trauma-informed approach, Young helps identify and interrupt patterns of behavior and thought that can be harmful to individuals and their relationships. With children, Young uses play and art therapy to engage them in their world, allowing expression and communication in their language.
With teens, trust and authenticity need to be established and experienced before any real progress can be made. Young creates an atmosphere of safety and trust by engaging them with a frank, authentic, and playful approach. Similarly, through art and activities he helps them express themselves in a safe environment, while allowing them to explore their own thoughts and feelings. Young works primarily from a Solution-Focused and Cognitive Behavioral approach with teenagers.
The parent-child relationship can become challenging due to the many changes that children experience in their development. In these times, Young utilizes the importance of collaboration between child and parent, and so conducts family therapy as much as possible.
Young uses Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for youth healing from trauma. This is a conjoint child and parent psychotherapy approach for children and adolescents who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic life events.
Rina Podolsky – children and adolescents
Rina comes from a multicultural background and has had the opportunity to work with diverse populations. Rina offers services in both English and Spanish. With children and adolescents, Rina uses Narrative therapy and Emotionally Focused therapy. Additionally Rina uses play and art therapy with children. Rina provides a safe environment that best fosters emotional growth for children and teens. She incorporates parental involvement to maintain cohesiveness in the family unit – keeping in mind what is best for your child or teen.
Child and Adolescent Therapy can help your child improve communication skills and improve classroom or home behaviour. Teen and child counseling can help your child (and family!) overcome learning obstacles, improve self-esteem, and learn how to create effective boundaries. If you think your child is struggling, but seem to be facing a wall in your communication, it may be time to reach out and get help.