Psychotherapy Today | Mental Health | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Psychotherapy Today 

Not Your Grandfather's Psychoanalysis

Last Updated: 01/19/2020 4:06 am

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Creative expression also gives people healthy outlets for emotional or psychological challenges before they become problems. Unfortunately, McCarthy notes, "kids don't have the outlets of free, imaginative play that they used to 30 years ago. It's rare in schools and parents don't encourage it at home. There are some great teen camps designed for creative play, but it seems like that hasn't really trickled down to younger kids yet. Parents can help by having materials around—clay, art materials, blocks—and giving kids a space to move around, literally, to get some whole-body activity."

It may seem that child therapy is a luxury, but if insurance won't cover it and finances are the problem, each county in New York is mandated to have a community health clinic where nobody is turned away for lack of funds. "They are especially important in counties like ours where there are few private therapists," says Doug Engel, LCSW, clinical coordinator of the children's division in Greene County's Mental Health Center. "For many people we are the only game in town. We'd like treatment for the kids to involve the family, though older adolescents are seen by themselves. But for younger kids, a tremendous amount of work is systems therapy, working with the family."

Engel notes that for the kids they work with, "it's not just the therapeutic process that's important, but also that we hook them up with services in the community and almost serve as surrogate parents. Kids do not have the natural family and community supports they've had in the past." Engel knows that parents are suffering economic and other stressors nowadays, but encourages them to spend time playing games or reading with their kids. Studies show that an interested parent is a fantastic defense against childhood problems. He adds, "It's healthier for a kid to be in a happy home with a single parent than a toxic and destructive one with both parents. It only takes one parent to love a child."

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