For Children, Teens, and Special Needs

Wisdom Within Counseling, LLC. Experiential Marriage and Family Therapy. 8 West Main St. Niantic, CT 06357. 860- 451-9364.

Angry, Frustrated Children Gain A Voice Through Art

It is alarming and challenging. A child isn’t acting as they should. In short, behavioral and emotional issues develop and prevent a child from being confident and learning at school. Additionally, children often show outbursts and anger after the death of a loved one or pet, breakup/divorce, remarriage, bullying, sexual/physical abuse, and gender identity issues. I help with processing these overwhelming emotions through evidence-based play therapy and experiential therapies.

By combining a variety of highly effective, evidence-based healing modalities, children, adolescents, and teens learn and build positive coping skills and lifelong self-confidence.

Read more about each of these below.

Art Therapy


Animal & Adventure Therapy Groups

Yoga Therapy for PTSD

Why Animal Therapy?

Play Therapy For Children

Furthermore, in therapy, I help children learn healthy behaviors and interactions with others that promote positive growth. Considering that, play therapy can be exactly what children need to help them feel safe in order to express their feelings and emotions. Additionally, it can be quite difficult for children and even some adults to fully express them selves using words. As a result, this is why some adolescents begin to self-harm. Therefore, I provide toys, dolls, stuffed animals, and sensory objects, which are especially helpful for assessments in family therapy.

Join For Next Animal-Assisted Therapy Group! Read more.

Eli and Charlie Help Children and Teenagers Release Feelings

Next, meet Eli and Charlie! They are the “Feeling Cats” that live in my office and are a great tool for build emotional perception with children. No matter what a child is feeling, it is totally okay, but often it because difficult to accurately express. As a result, Eli and Charlie teach children that people can have more than one feeling at a given time. Their belly pouches are big, a child can fit all of their feeling emoji’s inside.

Benefits of The Feeling Cats

Note, even when I do therapy with teens and adults, as well as couples, my Feeling Cats are a huge favorite! I teach children and young adults relaxation techniques, calming practices that can be used outside of my office, and soothing breathing for inner peace. Interestingly, children and teens often look forward to continuing these skills because I make learning them fun and personalized!

Externalization and Expression of Emotion

Furthermore, children with behavioral issues deeply benefit from specialized, one-on-one therapy that allows them to express themselves without negative consequences, which are often experienced at school and in more disciplinary settings. After starting therapy, children slowly build up their level of trust over time.

Building and Teaching Trust In Children

In fact, I often use art, yoga, and play therapy to join and bond. Once this phase of therapy takes place, your child will gain self-awareness, insight, and begin to learn the reasons behind their behavior, how emotions impact them, their personal trigger points, and positive coping skills. In addition, I offer family sessions, couple sessions, sibling sessions, parent-child sessions, and individual sessions, which may be more appropriate at different times.

When To Call And Get Help From A Therapist

Indeed, there are times when it’s clearly important to call and ask for help for your child or young adult for instance drug use, self-harm, cutting, suicidal language, and a parent’s divorce, to name a few.

For Parents/Grandparents/Caregivers:
  • It took a lot of courage to get here. You may feel unsure of how to meet your child’s needs and how to parent in some ways, but you are not alone. Many people struggle with raising children, adolescents, and young adults, especially one who self-harm. You are brave and strong for reaching out. We will collaborate in family sessions, parent conversations and sessions, sibling sessions, and child sessions together to meet the unique needs of your child or teen.

For Kids and Teens:
  • Its safe here. You don’t have to talk. We get to have fun meeting together. When you do feel like talking, I listen.
  • It is always okay to cry and ask for help. I have a safe space where you can work out your problems in any way that comes naturally to you. I am excited to meet you!
For Everyone:

I don’t focus on pathology and diagnoses. I focus on strengths and potential. In other words, a diagnosis can offer insight, provide ground work for academic accommodations, and a 504 plan or IEP for extended testing time. However, I do consider that asa factor, but I believe that there is more to someone than a label. In time, some labels can even change or go away. Therefore, the type of therapy I provide focuses on the whole person, is evidence-based, skill-based, is relational, and is holistic.

Losing a pet is just like losing a family member, especially for a child or young adult.

The sadness, depression, and crying is totally okay and an important part of the process. These feeling may linger and stay with a person for years. A pet is a beloved friend, a companion, and family member, just like a any human. A pet can feel like a sibling because your pet has been there with you like a best friend through the ups and downs of life. It is totally okay to feel like you have a huge hole in your heart. Feelings of intense pain and loss are normal with the loss of your friend.

Crying is 100% okay and healthy.

Some children and teenagers have a low crying and low frustration threshold. Sometimes life can be unstable, so during those times, crying may happen more. Nutrition is an essential part of having balanced and stable mood. Use a free app on your phone like, “My Fittness Pal,” to make sure you’re getting a balanced and healthy amount of protein, whole grain carbohydrates, real fats, as well as fiber (prebiotics, which are the precursor for probiotics to flourish a.k.a beneficial gut flora) potassium (plays a major role in uplifting mood and preventing muscle cramps). It is important to eat throughout the day too. Bring snacks if you are at school or work. Crying may happen more during times of pet loss as well.

Therapy For Kids and Teens Regard Pet Loss

Never let anyone make fun of you for crying or tell you that you’re being silly. It is natural and normal to feel intense grief over the loss of a pet. It is healthy to grieve, to cry, and to express the wonderful life your pet had through art. At times, sharing grief, memories, stories, and empathy can bring the parent-child relationship closer together.

Mourning and Healing From Pet Loss

During the time you and you your beloved pet were together, you went through a lot of life experiences. Your pet was a huge part of your daily life and a best buddy, who offered warmth, comfort, companionship, compassion, unconditional love, bight smiling eyes, acceptance, and joy!

Pet Loss In Adolescents and Teens

Remember that people who do not own pets or have never had a connection to a pet like you, may not understand how to help you or may not know what to say. They may even say the wrong thing. Let these people roll off your back and focus on the caring, empathetic people around you. Just like there are animal lovers in the world, there are also people who won’t ever understand it. Remember, many other people have felt sad and depressed after losing their pets and that you are not alone. There are other pet owners with hurting hearts going through the same thing and felt the same feelings.

Holding It All Inside vs. Expression of Emotion In Teens

Unresolved pet loss can lead to negative behaviors and thoughts. When loss goes unremembered, it is really difficult to cope in the future with losses that will happen. Being a human being also means that death doesn’t get easier. It will usually be a really sad few months or years depending on your loss.

Experiential therapy can help heal all types of loss.

By talking about the memories of your beloved pet, healing can take place. Talking can be helpful, but sometimes talking can be too much. That is why I offer yoga, art, music, and animal-assisted therapies. Furthermore, I know how hard it can be to deal with and heal loss. It can be so tough and sad. As a result of having been there myself, this is why I offer mixed-methods of compassionate, holistic therapies. Art therapy and painting can be a beautiful way of expressing yourself and remembering the love you had with your pet.

Children and Teenagers: Eating disorders present in all genders and ages.

The longer your child lives with an eating disorder, the harder it is to recover, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, trauma-related eating, picky-eating, texture sensitivities, choking fears that impact eating, social eating anxiety, fixation and more. In addition to counseling, I offer nutrition sessions in combination with family therapy and individual therapy. Art, music, animal, and yoga therapy are very effective for transformation and healing. Getting into see a compassionate, empathetic therapist, such as myself, and building a goal-oriented, positive plan as quickly as possible can save your son or daughter’s life.

Understanding Your Family History

If mental illness or known conditions runs in your family, it is a great idea to get your child into therapy. Perhaps, you’ve heard that alcoholism “runs in the family” or remember anger being a scary part of your childhood. Maybe, your uncle has bi-polar disorder. Even if you are unsure what that means, be adamant about scheduling for your child to set them up for success and smooth sailing from the get-go. In therapy, we work together to let go of judgment of the past, support expression, and increase self-awareness for the future for you and your child.

Seeking Help: Cutting and Self-Harm in Teenagers

If you discover your child has been hurting his or herself, even if the marks are light and did not break the skin, call a therapist right away. This means that your teenager is dealing with a lot of stress and in search of an outlet. Even if he or she said it was a one-time thing, it’s important to get help and put a scheduled session on your calendar.

Improved Parent-Child Relationships

At Wisdom Within Counseling, I help frustrated teens stop self-harming, build confidence, and feel worthy enough to belong by integrating art, yoga, music, and animal therapy with evidenced-based Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and traditional talk therapy- so they can live a life they LOVE!

Parenting A Teen Through Self-Harm

In session, we meet to discuss parenting tips and ways to help your teen be successful and overcome self-harm. Keep reminding your teen that you are there to support them and hug often. Note, even if your teen stops self-harming, it is important to continue twice weekly therapy sessions continually for a number of weeks to ensure the new skills solidify. Additionally, cutting and self-harming, dangerous behaviors that can last for years as negative coping skills. It may be his or her way of asking for help or dealing with a serious issue.

Children with Special Needs In School

First, parents are often confused over which behavioral therapy approach to take when it comes to parenting, understanding, and loving their child with special needs. To begin, schools frequently move young children with special needs into mainstream classrooms too early, sometimes missing the diagnosis entirely. Shifting a child with autism away from small-group prosocial behavioral programs can slow and decrease progress.

A Narrative Example

For instance, say a child with special needs has finally adjusted. Over the course of four months, they have a routine with daily interactions. For a while, they are in the same classroom they are use to, a teacher they have connected with and know, and a very small environment with only a few peers. Then, the suggestion is made to move this child from this environment in to the mainstream classroom. However, this disruption in the “same” routine and change would likely lead to behavior problems in the new classroom and a regression in many of the newly developed positive skills learned over the past four months in the small class setting.

Join For Our Next Animal Therapy Group!

Children with special needs succeed best when they are involved in small-group, consistent and in-person, peer-focused social stimulation. Studies show that children who receive continual one-on-one therapy are more likely to receive the significantly beneficial support they deeply need in order to, in some cases, outgrow the diagnosis entirely by their mid to late 20’s. Implementing individual and family therapy sooner than later can lead to more age-appropriate skills later, thus allowing an easier transition into the mainstream, when your child is ready.

I run emotionally-focused social learning groups with animals! We rotate between Equine Therapy, Goat Therapy, and chickens, turtles, owls, and geese. I understand the behavioral health challenges that affect a child’s educational and life experiences.

Since 2009, I have worked with children with special needs in a number of different settings. I know what it takes to ensure the greatest success of every child. I advocate for the needs of children and young adults that require specific academic accommodations to grow academically.

I Help With:

Meditation, Self-Awareness, and Mindfulness Techniques

Body Language, Conversational Skillfulness, and Job Readiness

Time Management and Homework Planning

Skill-Based Learning For Self-Harming

Test Anxiety Reducing Skills and Techniques

Naturally-Focused Nutritional Guidance

What Your Child/Teen Gains

Development of Assertive Abilities with Family

Reduced Parent-Child Relationship Problems

Peer Pro-Social Growth Skills

Creativity, Emotional Expression, and Organizational Skills

Increase In Verbal Communication and Emotional Processing

Self-Care, Hygiene, and Routine Development

Goal Setting and Following Through Abilities

Typically, I provide couple sessions for parenting and emotional support, family and sibling sessions, and individual sessions with your child, depending on their age. I specialize in therapy for teenagers. Together, we can work as a team with your teens’s teacher and school system to create and implement a personalized educational plan for their success. With all team members working together, I can to help you and your teen best accomplish important social developmental milestones, academic goals, and family bonds.

Additional Personalized Services Offered

Academic Accommodation Advocacy

Structural Family Assessment and Plan

Educational Success Plan

Referrals to Tutors and Highly Specialized Professionals

Communication with Teachers and School

Call Katie for your free 15-minute consultation to help your child with play therapy and build social-emotional awareness today (860) 451-9364.