Adolescent and teenage years are both a wonderful and challenging time in one's life. We both love and fear the independence. It's the time when many of our lifelong friendships develop, even if we do not yet understand what true friendship entails. We are challenged for the first time emotionally and academically, and yet, we sometimes worry that we won't measure up. We are curious and imaginative, and just starting to envision the life that we would like to have as an adult, including the values that we would like to live by.
Dr. Karolina Pekala and Dr. Meghan Downey specialize in treating adolescents and teenagers using a variety of approaches in order to help them build more fulfilling lives. As Clinical Psychologists, they are fully trained in evidence-based skills, yet also value holistic approaches so that each child is treated as an individual with therapy that is tailored to specifically meet his or her needs. They rarely adhere to traditional or standard approaches to therapy, because every child is unique. Their treatment involves combining evidence-based approaches, such as CBT, DBT, and psychoanalysis, with more holistic approaches, such as mindfulness and hypnotherapy. This way of working taps into each child's imagination and ability to self-heal, so that the child or teenager develops skills to become happier and more at ease.
Hypnosis with children and adolescents can be especially beneficial given the unique characteristics of their developmental age. They are imaginative, curious, and inquisitive - allowing for an openness to new experiences, such as hypnosis. The nature of this playful type of therapy aligns with the types of issues that are prominent within this age group, so it's a natural fit. The types of issues that hypnosis can be particularly useful in treating in adolescents and teens includes, but are not limited to:
• Social anxiety
• Eating disorders
• Friendship issues
• Difficulties in school
• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• Parental conflict/divorce
Hypnosis often includes indirect messages and storytelling; or in other words, similar to the use of fairy tales or movies with positive messages for children. The benefit of working with a therapist at NY Health Hypnosis & Integrated Therapy is that your child will have positive messages tailored specifically to their circumstances, goals, and unique personalities. The experience of hypnosis is often calming, working as an intervention that is both relaxing in the moment and suited for longer-term support by enhancing children's strengths to help them achieve their goals.
As Clinical Psychologists, our approach to therapy blends hypnosis and psychotherapy with clinical research. While hypnosis is never a quick fix for these types of concerns, it has shown to greatly aid in the therapy process. For instance, hypnosis can be used to alleviate intense anxiety around school, increase positive thinking, and relax thoughts of self-doubt and self-blame. Integrative therapy, on the other hand, can provide systematic steps towards addressing the insecurities that arise during this time period— such as difficulties with body image, academic stress, and difficulties with friendships. By combining hypnosis and therapy, Dr. Pekala and Dr. Downey help children and teenagers move through this process with less anxiety, greater confidence, and better connection in their relationships.
Prior to your child's first appointment, a therapist will speak with you via phone to determine goals, discuss your concerns about your child, and to make sure we are the best fit for your child's needs. Generally speaking, Dr. Karolina Pekala works with children aged 12+ and Dr. Meghan Downey specializes in working with teenagers aged 15+.
Based on your child's developmental age, the therapist may ask that the parent participate in the first few minutes of the session. Joining in at times to receive an update regarding treatment progress or to engage in a family session may also be recommended. Dr. Pekala and Dr. Downey also provide individual sessions with parents without the child present to provide psychoeducation on diagnosis, strategies to help at school and home, and help in terms of fostering the best possible outcomes for your child.
Therapy is a safe, compassionate, and non-judgmental space in which individuals can express their deepest fears, hopes, and goals. We naturally feel more at ease talking with a therapist individually without others present, and the same is true for children and teenagers. Children naturally look to their parents to see if they're saying the "right" thing, when there is no right or wrong in therapy. Topics that may be benign to adults may be particularly sensitive to teenagers due to their developmental age. That is why we at NY Health Hypnosis & Integrative Therapy, we promote a healing space that fosters self-confidence, hope, and independence.
Research has shown that when combined with therapy, hypnosis is particularly helpful in treating struggles unique to children and teenagers. These may include fears such as public speaking, test taking anxiety, and social phobia, and also includes broader concerns, such as insomnia, pain, ADHD, and depression.
Hypnosis For Kids & Teens: How It Works, Examples, & Effectiveness
The Impact of Hypnotic Suggestions on Reaction Times in Continuous Performance Test in Adults with ADHD and Healthy Controls
Clinical hypnosis with children: first steps toward empirical support
Hypnosis and Pain in Children
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