Each case is individual, however in general we proceed the following way according to age:
For children 12 years old or under:
The 1st session is usually with the parent(s) and child. Consecutive sessions alter between: one with the child, next parent-child. This is because the younger the child, the more dependent they are on their interactions with the parents.
For people 13 years old or over:
The 1st session is usually with the parent(s) and child. Consecutive sessions may or may not be alter between: one with the child, next parent-child. This is because at this age children are starting to become more independent of their parents, yet still depend greatly on these family interactions.
The following techniques and approaches are used in sessions:
Collaborative and Proactive Solutions
It is a non-punitive and trauma informed practice of modifying behaviour in children and teens that have low tolerance to frustration. It was originally described by Dr. Greene. He has published The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Lost & Found, and Raising Human Beings. The CPS model is recognized as an empirically-supported, evidence-based treatment.
This form of therapy focuses on teaching the family (both the child and parent) on identifying the problem and fixing it together (collaboratively and proactively) rather than each member acting in an emergent and unilateral way.
Other forms of therapy listed below can be used to address the specific problems in session.
CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is evidence-based therapy based around that centres around the educating the client about what is happening inside their minds, brains and bodies that makes them react in a problematic way. We use play and expressive arts to teach the ways to control strong emotions, improve their interaction with parents and take better care of themselves.
Clients can plan to attend biweekly for 8 or more sessions.
EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR is a proven treatment for PTSD yet applicable to other issues such as anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive behaviours and in the context of family therapy. EMDR can help heal hurtful experiences in attachment or family relationships.
Sessions are structured and directive can relieve the client of the physical and emotional discomforts of their past, easing or eliminating troublesome behaviours and reactions to the present and future concerns.
The client is encouraged to briefly focus on the traumatic experience while using bilateral stimulation which is associated with a reduction of the emotional charge triggered by the memory. In the case of children, these experiences are represented by stories, bad dreams or visual art representations of their experience. This way it’s possible to modify the way the memory is remembered into a more adaptive way that helps the child move on.
Clients are recommended to commit to 6-12 sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. For people with complex or developmental trauma treatment will be longer.
Expressive Arts Therapy
ExAT is a different way to aid mental health and wellbeing using visual arts, music, voice and movement, creative writing and drama as a way to explore, express and heal our internal world. It helps create a sound therapeutic relationship and to apply coping skills in a meaningful way. Expressive arts can be combined with CBT or DBT.
It can be particularly useful for those with an artistic inclination, children and people that struggle with communication or verbalization due to developmental challenges.