My Counselling Approach
I use a Family Systems model of therapy and incorporate principles of Attachment Theory into my practice. By working together with you as part of the counselling process, I can help support your child’s emotional needs, and problem-solve around developmental or behavioural challenges.
I work with children of all ages and all abilities including those with learning and developmental disabilities as well as giftedness. Depending on the needs of your child and family, I can use a variety of counselling techniques to best meet your needs including:
- Family Therapy
- Parent Coaching & Counselling
- Attachment Therapy
- Play, art and expressive Therapy
- Cognitive-behavioural Therapy
Family therapy is most frequently the therapy of choice when children or adolescents are identified as having psychological problems. In therapy with younger children, I often use a combination of individual, parent, and family therapy sessions.
Family therapy sessions can help all family members identify problems and resolve them. Children are given support to voice their concerns to parents. Siblings may also be involved in the therapy process as needed to express opinions and help repair relationships within the family. In blended or step-families, this process may include step-parents, step-siblings and half-siblings as needed.
Frequently, the family therapy sessions result in addressing other issues affecting family dynamics rather than focusing only on the behaviour of one child. This not only helps the family make needed changes, it is essential in helping the identified “problem-child” rebuild self-esteem and improve their behaviour.
Benefits of Family Therapy
- Decrease conflict through understanding of one another’s perceptions & needs
- Create a safe atmosphere that will promote sharing in an open and honest manner
- Connect and feel supported by one another
- Change hurtful patterns of communicating and develop healthier ones
- Bring out the strengths of each family member
- Increase a sense of acceptance and belonging
Through the process of Parent Coaching and Counselling we can discuss parenting approaches that will help minimize your child’s difficulties and support you in your role as parent.
Parent coaching supports you to create your own solutions to your parenting concerns based on your values. Through the process of being coached, you will increase your knowledge of parenting strategies, increase your self-awareness, and create a more balanced system of nurturing and structuring parenting skills. You will also increase your confidence and gain a better sense of where and when to apply various skills.
Benefits of Parent Coaching:
- Enhance awareness of the issues driving your child’s behaviour
- Enhance positive feelings and social interactions in your child
- Increase self control & self-esteem in your child
- Learn new, more successful parenting techniques
- Healthier & happier family relationships
- Greater confidence in your parenting role
“Janice and I have always worked as a team; I feel highly supported by her and she remains connected and in contact when things are especially rough. I recommend Janice to anyone dealing with a troubled child and/or mired in complex negative and difficult family dynamics.”
Attachment therapy focuses on the emotional bond that is developed between you and your child. Attachment Theory, which is now supported by research, was formulated by psychiatrist John Bowlby. He asserted that a young child needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. This reciprocal relationship between the child’s needs for connection and comfort and the parent’s responses to their child, both influence the child’s pattern of attachment. These patterns of interaction are internalized by the child and will guide their feelings, thoughts and expectations in later relationships.
A secure attachment between your child/teen and you helps reduce the risk of emotional difficulties in the future and leads to more positive peer relationships as well. My goal is to promote a more secure attachment between you and your child through our therapy sessions.
Benefits of Attachment Therapy:
- Strengthen your child’s ability to cope with life’s challenges
- Promote a feeling of unconditional acceptance
- Identify and express feelings, wants and needs
- Enhance your child’s strengths
- Promote a positive sense of self
“Janice knows when to push, to persist, and to “stretch” a child. She is sensitive, patient and perceptive, and knows when to stop …my daughter opened up, ultimately responding to Janice’s kind, nurturing and sensitive way of being.”
- Jody G.
As a Registered Play Therapist I incorporate play, art and sand tray therapy into my work with young children in order to promote self-expression, comfort and trust. Play is children’s language. As they often don’t have the cognitive or verbal abilities to talk about their thoughts, feelings and emotional struggles, they are expressed through play.
Play therapy is a client-centred, developmentally based and research-supported approach to helping children cope with and overcome problems in their lives. Play therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective therapeutic approach for a variety of children's problems including the following:
- aggression and acting out
- fear and anxiety
- emotional withdrawal
- attachment difficulties
- chronic illness
- grief and loss
- self-concept and self-esteem
- social adjustment problems
- learning difficulties
In play, your child can communicate through the play materials and themes they create what their worries/problems may be. Through my reflections of their play themes, your child’s issues can be voiced and problematic behaviours often drop off.
Benefits of Play Therapy
- Opportunity for greater self-expression
- Greater self-understanding
- Relief from inner emotional struggles
- Develop a stronger sense of self
- Reduction in problematic behaviours
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment that addresses the interactions between how we think, feel and behave. CBT helps people to identify negative cognitive patterns or thoughts, and how they effect emotions and behaviours. CBT is a process of teaching, coaching, and reinforcing positive behaviours.
The development and use of CBT have been closely guided by research. Carefully designed research has led international experts to identify CBT as the current “treatment of choice”. Evidence now supports the effectiveness of CBT for many common mental health concerns including:
- Improving overall mood and decreasing anxiety
- Improving a “negative” temperament
- Resolving problems with eating
- Overcoming substance abuse
- Relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
CBT focuses on current problems. It is goal-oriented, brief, and structured. CBT techniques are taught during individual therapy sessions with you and/or your child and then practiced during the week between sessions. The process of using CBT strategies involves:
- Targeting problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviours
- Understanding the link between thoughts, feelings and behaviours
- Learning relaxation techniques
- Stopping problematic thoughts or worries
- Rehearsing more positive ways of coping
- Practicing more adaptive behaviours.
Depending on the age of your child and the goals we have established together for therapy, I will use a variety of counselling techniques to best meet your needs. Through the therapy process, you will discover positive aspects of yourself and your child, build on these strengths and find a greater sense of purpose in your parenting role.
If your child, teen or family could use counselling, please call for your free 10-minute consultation at 604-787-7258.
Sign up to receive “Ten Tips for building secure attachment” and find out how to understand and respond to your child’s needs, create a happier child and improve your relationship.
Janice Ebenstiner, MA, CCC-S, RPT