Moss Henry, LMFT






I have been working with families since I began practice. Often families seek therapy when a child or teenager has been having problems or acting out. Warning signs for children may include:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Tantrums

  • school refusal

  • failing grades

  • drug or alcohol use

  • sexual activity

  • shoplifting

    Depending on the age of the child, I usually like to see the family together, at least once. Each member of the family is affected by the problematic behavior and will have thoughts and feelings about it. It’s useful for parents and the child who is the focus of attention to hear how other family members experience things. If there are very young children in the family, I will only bring them in for a session in order to see how family members interact with them. Parents may be angry and in a power struggle with a child, trying to find the leverage to foster cooperation.

    Love and concern frequently get lost in the struggle, so I always ask family members if they’re worried about the child, highlighting the love and caring so that kids can hear it. Kids may only see parents as wanting to “run their lives.”

    I use a method called Family Systems theory to help us all to better understand the context in which the issues might be fostered. There may be things happening in the family setting that are related to the turmoil. Kids are like “canaries in a coal mine” and reflect stresses in the family that may need attention.

    Younger children may manifest issues in some of the following behaviors:

School performance ADHD

  • Sibling rivalry

  • Bullying

  • Separation anxiety

  • Bedwetting

  • Peer relations

  • Tantrums

    The teen years are a challenge, especially in our current society. With teens, I expect a certain amount of tension as they separate and move into their peer groups. They may be wrestling with issues around:

    • Identity

    • Separation

    • Sexuality

    • Drugs and alcohol

    • School performance

    • Career plans

      Our culture fosters competition, consumerism, stress, isolation and anxiety. These elements have a major impact on families and kids. Depression and anxiety are significant problems for many children, fueling their anger and sometimes leading them to act out. The role that computers, video games and TV play, adds to the complexity. Negotiating “screen time” is often essential.

      Many parents are overloaded by financial pressures, busy schedules, lack of support, marital conflict, career, and health issues. I can help develop more effective parenting strategies and communication as well as address these other critical factors.

      I will meet with parents separately to discuss limit-setting, boundaries and family structure, including appropriate consequences. I may work with kids in individual sessions, helping them learn ways of dealing with real world situations including parents and other family relationships, school, peer pressure, assertiveness, time management, drugs and alcohol, and communication.

      As part of my work with kids and families, I consult with teachers, counselors, childcare providers and other adults who may have important information to share.

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