Phone: 604-746-7200

Trauma-Focused Therapy

For Children, Youth and Young Adults


Common Issues

• Adolescence – Common challenges include technology use, drugs and alcohol, peer attachment, self harm, sexual relationships, resistance and opposition.
• Alpha Problems – When a child or youth calls the shots and tells adults how to take care of them, the underlying issue may be an alpha problem. They can become bossy, commanding, demanding, full of resistance, alarm and frustration, which makes taking care of them a nightmare. The way through is to understand how the tables have become turned and court dependence rather than chasing symptoms.
• Anxiety – From babies to adults, anxiety is part of the human condition. While the circumstances driving the alarm may be varied, the roots of it are not and making sense of these is the surest way to help a child rest again.
• Attention and Agitation – Problems with attention and distraction can pose challenges at school and in the home. Making sense of how the emotional/alarm system is being activated is critical, as well as understanding how the attention system is meant to develop.
• Discipline – Today’s popular disciplinary approaches use separation or alarm-based strategies that are not attachment safe and developmentally friendly. Alternatives that are relationally and developmentally appropriate are important in making headway and preserving the adult/child connection.
• Divorce, Fostering, and Adoption – When kids go through a disruption or an uprooting in their attachments, there is much we can do to help them adapt to the changes. Understanding what works with a child to help them feel rooted and cared for during these times is critical.
• Emotional Health – The emotional health of a child will impact overall development and maturity. If we are to make sense of their emotional well being, understanding human vulnerability is key. Knowing the difference between what is developmentally appropriate and signs that a child is stuck are key issues to consider in overall emotional and mental health.
• Frustration/Aggression – From young children to adolescents, the expression of frustration is common but understanding what is stirring them up and moving through temper tantrums is key. When frustration turns foul, aggression can emerge with attacking energy unleashed. Making headway involves considering development, maturity, emotional health, and conditions that are exacerbating the situation.
• Peer Pressure – Caring for kids will become difficult when they are attached to their peers more than the adults in their life. A loss of adult influence can create behavioural and attention problems in the home and at school. Reclaiming a peer attached child or adolescent is possible but must start with making sense of this phenomena.
• Resistance and Opposition – One of the more troubling dynamics in an adult/child relationship is resistance and opposition. While it is part of natural human instinct to resist when feeling coerced, it can also become stuck, chronic and pervasive, rendering care taking a challenge.
• School Readiness – Whether a child or adolescent is entering preschool, kindergarten, middle school, high school, college or university, insight into school readiness can help set them up for success. Common school issues include bullying, peer relationships, as well as how to help a child who is struggling academically.
• Sensitive Kids and Special Needs – The number of sensitive children in a North American population is estimated to be at 20%. These children can display a heightened sensorium, (e.g., touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing), and awareness that can lead to intense reactions and/or a flight from vulnerability. Parents of special needs kids are supported in making sense of their child and in providing the conditions that will help them grow up.
• Separation/Divorce - Children and youth are facing a myriad of issues as they try to navigate through the complexities of life. With divorce rates skyrocketing; parents themselves often unable to cope; children are left to fend for themselves in the midst of a traumatic family division. The often-brutal manipulation children face, seeing and hearing their parents vent about blame, custody issues, and finance, can be all too much for their children. Children are flooded with emotional dysregulation, that can result in anger issues, sadness, bullying, grief & loss, impulsiveness, depression, school avoidance, anxiety, eating disorders, learning difficulties or academic problems, relationship issues (peers & parents) addictions/addictive behaviours, thoughts of harm to self or others.
While many behaviours may appear unrelated, the pieces should fit together to reveal the child from the inside out. Making headway on problematic behaviour is most effective when you can make sense of the underlying dynamics driving it. Strategies are aimed at the root of the problem as well as in managing symptoms and behaviour.
Fraser Valley Counselling offers children, teens and their families proven strategies that enable them to effectively regulate emotions and manage behavioral reactions that otherwise interfere with daily life and future opportunity. These challenges include excessive anxiety, depression, anger, hyperactivity, social skills deficits, and other behavioral problems. Following evaluation, each child receives an individualized treatment plan that includes components from evidence-based interventions and other mindfulness-based therapies.
Children & Youth are uniquely influenced by the social environment in which they live, which extends from home to school and beyond. As such, input, feedback, and support from those who know them best contribute to any successful therapy with children. Thus, our individual psychotherapeutic work with children also includes a collaborative relationship with their parents. Parent coaching and therapy may further that collaboration by offering strategies for effective communication, behavior management, and skill building beyond the therapy setting. Where difficulties exist primarily within a family itself, we provide services that address those challenges with all involved.
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