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Many people wonder what the signs are to be sure your concerns reach the level of outside intervention. The following are examples of problem areas where psychological, parent-child support or clinical development interventions are needed:

Infancy thru Toddler years up to 3 years old:Not meeting developmental expectations such as speaking or walking by 18 months, difficult to soothe, does not make or keep eye contact, shows detachment or lack of interest in primary care givers, concerns about eating or sleeping patterns. Traumatic experiences, such as loss of family member, victim of or witness to violence, medical issues, parental mental health issues, etc.

Preschooler thru 5 years old: Poor frustration tolerance, obstinacy, rigidity, developmental delays, poor sleep habits, aggression, hyperactivity, poor social skills, toileting issues, intense separation anxiety.

School Age: Learning difficulties, hard time making and keeping friends, excessive temper, low self esteem, anxiety, extreme fears, special education needs, sleep issues, poor personal boundaries, breaking of privacy rules, or exposure to inappropriate media.

Adolescence: Defiance, apathy, poor decision making, not achieving to potential, isolation, self harming thoughts or behaviors, anxiety.

My approach to working with children is to create a safe space for children to find ways to externalize their inner emotional world, bringing the unconscious or repressed feelings to consciousness. Children’s psychological health benefits greatly from sharing their emotional life with a caring adult. By paying special attention to the whole family system, I help parents understand their children’s particular social and emotional needs and learn how to manage their own feelings, needs and wants in the face of their children’s needs. A child’s LIFE depends on their parent’s ability to connect with them; so we will focus on building a strong foundation of support for parents that addresses the issues parents face raising kids in this day and age. 

I completed an extensive 2 year training in Advanced Child Development, Mindfulness-Based Family and Play Therapy for children ages 3 to 10. I rely on my training and experience using Sand Tray Therapy when working with teens and adults. Sand tray therapy is a specialized modality that uses sand and selected “miniatures, ” objects which provide the medium for emotional expression and communicating one’s experience. The use of sand has a kinesthetic quality that addresses the sensory component of trauma, the deeper emotional experience that is retained in the body itself. For many people sand tray provides a safe, natural way for self-expression and a means of telling “their story.” With the use of both dry and wet sand trays, children, teens and adults are able to go deeper into their unconscious thoughts and feelings, which leads to a healing at both the conscious and unconscious root of problems and symptoms. I also have many years of training and experience using Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma Art Narrative Therapy for children and family members who have experience trauma and violence . 

Psychological Services for Parents & Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

phone: 215-779-6644 | email: | Holly Olshefski MSW, LCSW | ©2015 All Rights Reserved