Childhood is critical. Numerous studies and neuroscience have shown that brain development and rewiring don’t finish until the age of 25 or the early 30s for boys.
During the first few years of a child’s life, hundreds of new neural connections are formed every second. These connections build an architectural structure in the brain that will support that child’s future health, emotional, intellectual growth, social communication and integration.
Hebbian theory speaks eloquently on the concept of changing neuron connections:
“What fires together wires together.”
With the advance of MRI scans, we know that brain development is a biological process that adjusts the strength of connections between neurons, and those connections are built based on experience. As spike-timing-dependent plasticity suggests, our brains develop gradually over a long period of time and certain parts of the brain develop at certain time peaks if the right stimulus (learning opportunities) is provided.
However, if any important learning such as social skills, impulse control or moral judgment is missing, the individual will have a harder time acquiring those skills later on in life. This is why it is important to respond quickly and appropriately when a child encounters issues that undermine the foundations of these early years, issues such as learning disorders, developmental disabilities, emotional trauma or unsettling periods of change.
The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy
You cannot push any one up a ladder unless he be willing to climb a little himself.
My training in developmental psychology, which emphasizes attachment and neurodevelopment, enables me to see each client as unique and how a client's circumstances affect development. I don’t see my client as an embodiments of a particular attachment type or a label of some impairment but as an individual who needs helpful intervention.
My clinical training, philosophy and theoretical roots are in psychodynamic theory, which focuses on how human interpersonal interaction fundamentally shape the construction of a child's brain.
During therapy session, I take account of what has happened in the past, but mostly looks at the present family dynamics.
Recovery or change can happen quickly if the child or young person feels safe and lives in a stable environment, and I can get through their layers of defenses, which sometime could take as little as three or four sessions but sometimes longer.
Generally speaking, if the presenting problem is straightforward, a young person may need only a few weeks or months of therapy. However, if the problems are more complicated or long-lasting, therapy might have to carry on for several months. For example, a case of bereavement is very different from a case of bereavement by suicide or long-term medical care that has led to death.
When It Works Best
2010 - present
2010 - present
The process usually starts with an initial intake and assessment phase (usually 4-5 sessions). During this phase, as the therapist, I will consider the child’s or teenager's unique characteristics, such as strengths, limitations, developmental stage, family circumstances and relevant external factors.
Once assessment is complete, I will establish the therapeutic objectives and prescribe a particular intervention that is proven to be effective in achieving them.
I firmly believe in involving parents in the process, whether in simply agreeing upon the therapeutic objectives and approach, or in attending some sessions themselves by way of developing more effective parenting strategies and techniques.
Psychotherapy is proven to be an effective mental health treatment for young children and teenager. I am particularly interest in the following areas:
Impairments in social communication and social interaction, such as Asperger’s Syndrome
Children affected by dyslexia or dyspraxia
Problems at home, such as parental separation/divorce/blended family/domestic violence
Specific Trauma: Abuse, Bereavement and loss
Emotional issues: Low self-esteem, Stress, Anxiety and depression, Anger Management, Self-harm and Suicidal ideation
Social issues, often school related: such as Non-attendance, Non-participation, Selective Mutism, Disruptive behavior or Bullying