Contact:  Heather Chamberlain, PsyD 

101 Lucas Valley Dr #267 San Rafael CA 94903

Phone:  415-524-7882  

e-mail:  heather@mmt.sprucecare.com   

Marin Meaningful Therapy & Assessment Center

© 2019 Heather Chamberlain, PsyD

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Family Therapy

Photo by James Wheeler on Unsplash

When you and your child are fighting, arguing, or disagreeing intensely, it can be stressful for everyone.  Family therapy may be helpful in improve communication, help you understand your child's behavior, build attachment, and increase family harmony.   

 

Family challenges such as conflict, moving, divorce, or different temperaments can also be addressed with family therapy.  Skills around communication, stress reduction, and compromise can be the focus of treatment.  Activities that improve family connectedness, attachment, and understanding will be used to help build

Together we will decide what combination of therapy would best support your family at this point in time.  Finding ways to improve attachment, connectedness, and communication can be our focus along with problem solving and finding solutions that work for all.  Dr. Chamberlain supports your family create the connections and build skills to cope with the challenges you are dealing with.

Parent-Child Therapy

When you are struggling with your relationship with your child, it can be difficult and heartbreaking.  Parent-Child Therapy focuses on the relationship between you and your child.  With aspects of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), you will learn how to follow your child's lead as well as how to give directions clear and developmentally appropriate directions to your child.

Challenges can arise for a variety of different reasons.  Sometimes we have a different temperament than our child which can cause difficulties in our relationship.  Other times our temperaments are way too similar.  Both can cause conflict between you and your child.  Understanding these similarities and differences is the first step in finding ways to improve the relationship.  This may mean creating different routines for your family, changing your expectations, or finding ways that both your temperaments (and the rest of the family's) are being supported.

Other times challenges arise due to difficulties in our history, such as trauma, grief, loss, or poor parenting.  This can impact our ability to be present with our child and be our best parenting self.  We might be triggered by out child in ways that our child does not intend due to events in our own past.  Understanding these triggers and ensuring we are aware of our own tender spots is important as we work with our children.

Parent-Child Therapy, with interventions from Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), supports you in finding ways to improve your relationship and manage difficult behaviors more effectively. 

 

Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)

 

When a young child experiences one or more traumas and the symptoms persist past initial reactions, the child may need additional support to overcome the difficult emotions.  Parents learn how to help a child understand his or her internal reactions to triggering stimuli and treatment focuses on understanding what happened to the child and how this experience is continuing to create symptoms.    

Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), developed by UCSF, is an evidenced based treatment that supports young children who have experienced trauma or a traumatic event.  This could include a car accident, medical trauma, natural disaster, sexual abuse, or domestic violence.  Parents are a critical part of helping children feel safe and secure, so some of the therapy may focus on your own experience.  When our children experience trauma, it can impact us greatly as well.  We can experience grief, pain, and sometimes secondary trauma.  In order to support our children, we need to be stable and grounded ourselves.

Engaging in this type of work can be emotional and difficult.  Dr. Chamberlain helps you find ways to support your child as well as supporting you during the therapy process.  Together we build a story around the scary experience(s) and develop ways to talk about the event(s) in order to help your child feel safe. 

Parent Consultation

 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

As a parent, you have an enormous task.  And just when you feel confident with one developmental stage, presto, your child changes and you are in a new phase entirely!  Supporting a family is difficult and receiving your own support can be very helpful.  Sometimes we need to reflect on what's working as well as areas that we can bolster.  Parent consultation can support you with behavioral challenges, developmental concerns, increasing your parenting skills and confidence, or improving your own stress management as your parent your amazing and unique child.  Parent Consultation focuses on specific problems that can be addressed in a short period of time (hopefully 1-3 sessions).  Additional sessions are available as well if needed.

 

Behavioral challenges is one area that parents are often struggling with.  This can include managing intense melt-downs or tantrums, decreasing argumentativeness, and improving responsiveness to requests.  The focus of the session may be on understanding temperamental differences, developing of appropriate routines that support your and your child's needs, supporting a child in regulation of emotions, and improving the parent-child relationship in order to improve responses to requests.

Developmental concerns can also be addressed in a parent consultation.  This could include issues around toilet training, sleeping difficulties, and concerns about possible developmental delays.  Developmental testing is available as well if needed.  Learn more here.

Becoming a parent is not an easy task and regardless of how many books you read and podcasts you listen to, it can be difficult to weed out the useful information that applies to you, your child, and your family.  Parent consultation can help you ensure that your skills are a match for what your unique child needs at each stage of development.  Parenting is a 24/7 hour job and requires flexibility and an understanding of development.  A parenting consultation allows us to develop a specific plan that takes into account your strengths along with your child and family's needs.

Stress management is a huge buzzword, but that doesn't make it any less important.  Being able to manage our stress as a parent is critical.  We know that children pick up on our moods and our stress levels.  They become more agitated and vigilant when they experience feel a parent's stress.  Finding ways to manage stress is not always easy.  Sometimes this comes in the form of routines, or delegating tasks, or relinquishing activities when we are overwhelmed.  Another source of stress can be our own anxiety, depression, or negative self-judgements.  Sometimes stress management is about us as parents managing our own mental health.  

Being a parent is not easy.  During parent consultation, you and Dr. Chamberlain will identify and enhance your current strengths and explore ways to build your parenting toolkit.