When working with young children, I utilize a child centered play therapy approach. While children can experience deep and intense emotions, just like adults, they are often not yet able to verbally process complex thoughts and feelings sufficiently in order to experience relief. Play is a child’s language and the way they make sense of their world. It is for this reason that I utilize play to treat a wide range of childhood issues. 

In work with young children, involvement of the parents is critical, as these relationships are the most important in the child’s world.  When emotional or behavioral challenges are present, it impacts the family dynamic and parents and children can be left feeling less connected with seemingly more negative interactions than positive ones.

Through treatment with parents and children together, the family can be supported in strengthening their relationships and changing existing patterns of interacting. Families are supported in building the nurturing, secure relationships that will assist them in better enjoying their time together, increase their ability to understand one another, and reduce problematic behaviors in order to achieve a healthier, happy family.

When providing therapy to children, I view parent sessions as a necessary component to treatment. I utilize guidance sessions in a variety of ways. I help parents to explore the challenges their child and family are faced with and manage the strong emotions that are likely experienced. I also assist parents in gaining confidence in their ability to employ effective strategies for managing difficult behaviors and providing support to their child.

The parenting of our own children is greatly impacted by the way we were parented ourselves. Through exploration, I aim to support parents in gaining greater understanding of how they came to be the parents they are today, how to work to become even more effective and confident in their interactions with their child, and to build strong, secure bonds within the family to help everyone grow and thrive.

Often, when children are struggling to manage their emotions and behavior, they can experience difficulty meeting the demands of their daycare, preschool, or grade school environment. I view collaboration with schools to be of critical importance when supporting a child. With parents’ permission, I engage in all of the following in order to assist families and schools in providing the support necessary to promote optimal functioning within the educational environment

  • School observations
  • Feedback and recommendations provided verbally and/or through written letters or reports
  • Participation on school meetings
  • Engaging in routine follow up with teachers, school counselors, and administrators to continue to collaborate on classroom supports and strategies

The preschool environment is an exciting place, filled with energy, joy, and fun. With teachers and staff members working so hard to help these young people learn and grow, there are bound to be challenges along the way. I provide consultative services to local preschools to help merge their expertise in education with my focus on social-emotional development to provide the ideal environment for children to thrive.

The consultative model has a great deal of flexibility, where I am able to work with individual schools to determine the type of support that would be most helpful for their particular needs. This might include general classroom observation followed by staff discussion, round table staff discussions, or more formal presentations on chosen topics for either staff members or parents. Schools can contact me directly for more information.

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak in at least 1 setting (e.g., school), while readily able to do so in other, often more comfortable environments (e.g., home). I am a graduate of the Selective Mutism Proficiency Program, having completed advanced training and consultation requirements. I am trained to provide comprehensive evaluation, research supported interventions, frequent collaboration with schools, and routine measuring of progress to help children learn to manage the anxiety associated with speaking and use their voice with confidence.
Kristin S. Swanson, Psy.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist 6107G Arlington Boulevard Falls Church, VA 22044
(p) 914.772.1892 
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