Family Counseling

Family-counselingDo any of these scenarios remind you of a child or teen in your family?

Angry Johnny, 17, is increasingly angry, frustrated, and sometimes just rude.  You attempt to ask him how he is doing, and he yells “Leave me ALONE!” His grades at school are slipping, and you don’t see his friends around like you used to. He doesn’t want to play sports this year, even though last year that’s all he could talk about.  You try to laugh with him and you try yelling. Neither approach seems to be working.  Feel like throwing up your hands and giving up? Don’t kick him out of the house just yet…  Often a skilled counselor can make an alliance with a teen who doesn’t feel like they can talk to their parents.

Anxious Sally, 14, is an emotional roller coaster. She is happy and excited one moment, and tearful and sad within hours.  She tells you she is working hard at school, but she’s always on her phone or in her room with the door closed. She shuts off her computer screen whenever you walk around the corner. She worries a lot about friends, worries about clothes, worries about boys. She’s starting to complain more about headaches, and she says she’s not feeling well all the time. Sometimes it seems she wants to talk and hear your opinion. Other times, it seems like she is hiding things. Teens can often communicate more easily with a therapist because the therapist’s office is seen as a neutral safe place – outside of the everyday struggle at home.  In therapy with Hans, teens learn that they have a choice about how they think about problems, and that taking control of their thinking helps to make them feel less anxious and overwhelmed. Teens also learn practical skills such as relaxation breathing to reduce stress.

Hyperactive Billy, 8, has always had a hard time sitting still. From day one, it seems, he was climbing, rolling, jumping, and fidgeting – constantly “on the go”.  He liked school at first, got along with other kids, and seemed to do ok.  Then you started to receive the occasional call or note from the teacher about him needing to “learn when to be quiet”, “needing to keep his hands to himself”, or “being too silly and not doing his work.”  These behaviors are all just normal for a boy his age – right?  Now teachers, have started asking more questions and wanting to have meetings. You’re hearing words like “ADHD” and “medication” thrown around.  Is this a real problem – or is he just a normal, energetic boy?

Hans has years of experience diagnosing and treating ADHD and other developmental and behavior disorders. Many mild to moderate behavior issues are treatable without medication.  At other times what looks like a behavior problem may be underlying anxiety or depression. Family stressors, moving, grief, divorce and other issues can also trigger behaviors that can mimic attention and hyperactivity problems. Hans works with parents and kids to identify what is at the root of difficult behaviors. He works with kids to learn behavioral skills that can help them maintain greater self-control. Hans also works with parents to find strategies to make life more manageable at home.  In some cases – when therapy alone is not successful, Hans works in conjunction with family physicians or psychiatrists who prescribe medications for kids who have attention problems.

Sad Sara and Michael, 9 and 5, misbehave and have been more emotional since the divorce.  You try to avoid arguing in front of them when you get that phone call from your ex, who’s late for their weekend pick-up.  You try not to be negative, try to avoid getting that look on your face when they talk about how great the other parent is.  You know differently – how do they not see it? You do all the work, and the other parent’s house is like Disneyland.  Your son is crying frequently, when nothing used to bother him.  Your daughter seems to be getting downright mean – especially right before and right after coming back from visits to the other parent.  You try to love them and shower them with affection, but they are getting more out of control. You try to be strict and stick to structure, but then they seem to hate you.   Are they having trouble adjusting to the divorce, or are they responding negatively to your parenting style?

Hans works with kids of divorce and separation to help them adjust and cope to new circumstances.  The counselor’s office can be a safe place where kids don’t have to edit themselves or try to please anyone.  While they often feel put in the middle between parents, kids are often less afraid to talk to a neutral counselor about concerns. Hans helps kids ask difficult questions and talk to parents about upsetting feelings. Hans also helps parents around Co-Parenting, so that rules and expectations are similar and kids experience less frustration moving between households. He works with parents to help them communicate more amicably so that kids see that their divorced parents can have a healthy relationship.

What to expect?  Therapy involving children and teens is usually a combination of family counseling and individual therapy, depending upon what is most appropriate in each situation. Often Family Counseling can mean one parent and one child. The emphasis is never about blaming or “fixing” one person.  Instead, Hans emphasizes the theme that everyone in a family has an impact on everyone else.  Kids and parents work together to find solutions to make life easier and more fun again. Hans also provides Individual Therapy for older teenagers when it is appropriate.

In Family Counseling, we set goals together to increase positive communication and cooperation among family members. Family counseling provides a safe space for each person in the family to express difficult feelings and feel that their opinions are heard and respected.  Hans is there to help guide difficult conversations and to intervene when conversations aren’t working. Family therapy helps families become a team again – working toward common goals with healthier behaviors.

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT), children and teens learn that they can make choices in their thinking and that they are not subject to only reacting. As kids learn to change how they think, they begin to feel better and have greater control over their behavior. With teens, CBT can involve written exercises to help them learn and internalize new healthy thinking patterns.

Expressive Therapies.  Hans has a background in Art and Music. He encourages expression with art, writing and music to help kids channel difficult emotions in healthier ways.  Especially for younger kids, this type of therapy can be less threatening, and more fun.

 

Hans J Sieber, MC, LPC has years of experience working with varied family situations. Family counseling for both kids and families can help alleviate Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, Anger and Adjustment.  School performance, test anxiety and homework strategies are topics that are often addressed.  Hans works with families who are struggling with Conflict, Separation, Divorce, Blended Family, and Reintegration issues

hans-sieberHans J Sieber is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor with almost 20 years of experience. His Olde Town Arvada office is conveniently located within 25 minutes of downtown Denver, and is a short drive from the Highlands, Golden, Westminster and Broomfield.  He has evening office hours three days per week and is a provider on many insurance panels.   Contact Hans to ask any questions about family counseling or his practice via phone:  720-315-0123 or email hans@arvadatherapy.com  or schedule your first appointment online now.