Why an Adoption Therapist at all?
Parenting is tough job. Long hours, on the job training and as your children grow, your job description changes frequently! All families experience periods of stress and developmental challenges, but for adoptive families, there’s a twist. While not all family challenges are adoption related, all family challenges do occur within the context of adoption. A therapist with expertise in adoption is able to help parents work through these challenges, mindful of the significance of adoption and the child’s early history.
Why a family focus?
Parents and children alike do best in families which balance work and play, and time for love, laughter and the genuine expression of feelings. Parents often seek help when life is out of balance. That can happen when the family is trying to navigate a normal developmental life transition: going to kindergarten or grade school, entering the teen years, getting ready to leave home as a young adult. Or life can be out of balance when school expresses concern about the child. The goal of counseling is to restore balance in the family, or to help them find a workable “new normal,” so that all family members can flourish.
How do parents participate?
Children, especially those from tough start backgrounds (injurious prenatal care or neglect or abuse at the beginning of life), have needs that can, at times, overwhelm the coping skills of their parents. Parenting adopted children often requires new, learned skills to help children deal with issues of identity formation, attachment, grief and loss – and, for some children, the long term effects of trauma and prenatal substance exposure. These children need their parents to help them develop secure attachments and teach them to regulate their emotions and behaviors.
Since a child’s behavior affects the family, and the family’s expectations and reactions affect the child, parents are active partners in their child’s therapy and are included in some, if not all, counseling sessions. An alliance between the parents and the therapist, that includes consideration of all family members, creates the best opportunity for change and growth. Even if only one member of the family is being seen at any given meeting, a family focused orientation to our counseling session is still important.
Finally, since it does take a village to raise a child, it is important that families also be connected to appropriate resources and community support. I work with schools, medical professionals and other service providers to develop an optimal, interdisciplinary plan for the child and family.
Learn more about Dori or contact her directly to make an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org