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Monica Buttafava is specialized in providing therapy for children and adolescents experiencing the following symptoms
My services are based on psychodynamic principles integrated with complementary methodologies and techniques, like play therapy and mindfulness, in order to best meet the needs of each individual client and to address any behavioral or emotional distress.
With compassion and understanding, I work with parents and youth to understand their needs help them build on their strengths and support their personal growth.
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy emphasizes understanding the issues that motivate and influence a child's behavior, thoughts, and feelings. It can help identify a child's typical behavior patterns, defenses, and responses to inner conflicts and struggles.
Child psychoanalytic psychotherapy provides a unique set of factors for assessing what occurs between therapist and child in the consulting room and for exploring the link between the inner life of the child and symptomatic behavior.
Child and adolescent psychodynamic psychotherapy is a specialized approach to working with children, adolescents, and their families.
Psychodynamic treatment helps the child or adolescent understand and manage feelings more effectively; recognize and change poor coping strategies; and re-examine negative feelings about himself and others. The goal of treatment is not simply to overcome immediate troubles but to help each child or adolescent reach his or her full potential in all areas of life and to build a deep, long-lasting strength and resilience.
Much of this work is accomplished by building a strong, trusting relationship with the therapist who becomes a partner with the child and the family in understanding the child’s struggles and capabilities.
Child and adolescent therapy relies heavily on work with the parents during every phase of the treatment. In addition to helping the child return to the path of normal, healthy development, child psychodynamic approaches aim to strengthen and restore the relationship between the child and parents to a more normal, loving and mutually gratifying one.
Imaginary play is often a child's best way of communicating affects, fantasies, and internal states. In play, children are freer to express their internal emotional world, their thoughts, conflicts and fears. Consequently, one of the best ways for the therapist to enter the child's world is to do so from within the displacement of the play process. For children who cannot play, the therapist's goal is to teach the child to use play as a means of communication and to create meaning.
The play technique involves the use of toys, blocks, dolls, puppets, drawings, and games to help the child recognize, identify, and verbalize feelings. The psychotherapist observes how the child uses play materials and identifies themes or patterns to understand the child's problems. Through a combination of talk and play the child has an opportunity to better understand and manage their, feelings, and behavior; resulting in a therapy process that is deeply reparative, and that can improve performance of children at home and at school.
Mindfulness may be fundamentally understood as the state in which one becomes more aware of one's physical, mental, and emotional condition in the present moment, without becoming judgmental. Individuals may be able to pay attention to a variety of experiences, such as bodily sensations, cognitions, and feelings, and accept them without being influenced by them. Mindfulness practices are believed to be able to help people better control their thoughts and actions, rather than be controlled by them.
Mindfulness for children is just as effective in helping kids to find calm more readily, regulate behavior and emotion, improve focus and get along more harmoniously with peers, family and adults. It provides children with simple, practical tools to work directly with their nervous systems, helping them regulate emotional states and focus attention.
Children’s mindfulness training starts with learning focusing skills. When we learn to focus on just one thing, like taste, sound or our own breath, our mind calms down and grows stronger.
Refined concentration skills, in turn, translate to improved performance. It helps children do better in sports, school or arts, and it will help them score higher on tests. We always do better when we’re able to pay attention to what we’re doing.
Also, with mindfulness practice, we can create space between the things that happen and how we react to them. We respond in a more balanced way, without hurting our own feelings or the feelings of others.
As we create more emotional balance, we are less easily knocked down by our emotions, and in moments when we are knocked down, we bounce back more quickly.
Most adolescents deal with strong emotions, and mindfulness skills can really make a difference.
“ 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Help Children’s Brain” | Psychology Today
Here are 7 evidence-based ways that practicing mindfulness meditation can help children:
1. It gives kids the habit of focusing on the present moment and ignoring distractions.
2. It teaches them to stay calm in the face of life’s stressful times.
3. It creates good habits for the future. When faced with life’s challenges, they know they can find peace by taking a few moments to meditate.
4. It promotes happiness by lowering social anxiety and stress.
5. It promotes patience.
6. It can improve executive functions in their brain like cognitive control, working memory, cognitive
flexibility and better grades.
7. It can improve attentiveness and impulse control, and self-regulation