Children and Youth Within the Family
Nikita’s extensive training as both a psychoanalytic therapist and conflict mediator positions her well for working with challenging children, youth and families who face complex intra-familial dynamics and circumstances.
She combines her fundamentally psychodynamic approach with a variety of other therapeutic theories and techniques in psychology including cognitive-behavioural, family systems and attachment theory. If indicated, she will reach out and collaborate with other practitioners to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for the child or youth. Her office is a warm and welcoming space – equipped for play, talk or art therapy for all ages. Whether in the formal role of therapist, counsellor, advocate, psychological educator or case manager, Nikita ensures that the best interest of the child is her first priority.
Individual Child and Youth Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy with children and youth is commonly more interactive than psychotherapy with adults. It requires creativity, flexibility and “thinking on one’s feet”, as talking is not always adequate to keep the child or youth engaged. Children and teens require ongoing education about the process of therapy in order that the therapeutic alliance be nurtured and maintained. Communication with the child or youth is crafted to meet the uniqueness of each child or teen, their developmental level, and circumstances. The relationship between a child or teen and Nikita can last steadily for months or years or with stops and starts for different pieces of work. There is no one formula as each young person is unique.
Parental involvement in the psychotherapy process is the key to a positive outcome for all concerned. The best outcome for child or youth therapy is one in which the parents can be enlisted to respect their children’s privacy, speak positively about the therapist and process to the child or teen, and hold the therapeutic process as a priority in the young person’s life.
In certain cases, such as with preschool children, the entire therapeutic effort may involve only the parent without the child having any direct contact with the therapist. In the case of youth, the therapy may occur without any parental involvement except for the payment of fees with another therapist called upon to work with the parents separately, with a release to speak with Nikita. Typically all children age five and younger will be observed by Nikita in childcare, school and home settings at the outset of treatment. In all cases of children or youth under the age of 16 where the parents are separated or divorced, both parents must give consent for the child to be seen by Nikita.
How Does One Know if Therapy is Indicated
The need for psychotherapy is indicated when symptoms of emotional distress seem to be ongoing or chronically impeding a child or youth’s development – that is, the child or youth seems to be stuck and not naturally moving through maturation and development. Whether or not the child can say so, the child will show some degree of emotional distress in one or more aspects, relationship or setting of their lives, and does not experience relief by common sense interventions of the caregivers. Sometimes, it is the caregivers and their individual or joint conflicts that are impeding the child’s development, in which case, several team players or parent/child sessions may be indicated.
The child or teen must possess adequate cognitive abilities to participate in the process, and must be able to be alone with Nikita in the therapy room at some point. If the child or youth is under the care of a psychiatrist, the psychiatrist must approve Nikita’s involvement on the team and be willing to work collaboratively. In almost all cases of children/youth formally diagnosed with ADHD, substance abuse, giftedness with learning disability, eating disorders, suicidality, oppositional behaviour, gender disorders, pervasive development disorders, attachment disorders, thought disorders and mood disorders, Nikita is likely to be one of several practitioners working on a clinical team.