We offer a full range of mental health services with a special emphasis on the challenges across the lifespan of attachment and trauma.

How We Help Our Clients

Relationships are the heartbeats of our lives. When there are problems relating to others in the family and socially it can impact every area of an individual’s life. For these unique issues, there are several different types of therapy in which our therapists have specialized training, to help each client’s unique needs.

Through a cooperative process with the therapist, individuals are able to become more self-aware. Through the course of their development, our highly trained therapists provide the support and caring necessary to navigate this journey. When working with children, our therapists allow them to “work through” their challenges through the play itself or provide targeted intervention through specific activities by combining play with other types of therapy. Utilizing a trust-based approach, we assist young people to identify the causes of their distress. Our specially trained therapists help them to acquire the skills necessary to encourage lasting change and a deeper self-understanding. Our therapists feel privileged and grateful for the opportunity to work with our clients; as they work hard to move forward with a clearer understanding of themselves and the important relationships in their lives. 

About Us

As a mental health clinic and neuroscience training center, our therapists provide a range of experience and levels of training. All therapists are trained in leading edge trauma focused evidence-based therapy modalities that utilize the healing properties of the brain. We believe in the power of healing relationships and families. 

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote the growth and healthy functioning of individuals and families through professional guidance. We offer a full range of mental health services, with a special emphasis on services that are effective for attachment and trauma challenges across the lifespan.

Meet Our Staff

Teresa Brown

Teresa Brown

Certified EMDR & IATP Therapist

Registered Play Therapist

281-903-5353

M.Ed., LPC, NCC, RPT

TeresaB@atchouston.com

Ms. Brown is committed to helping children, adolescents, and their families in their journey of hope and healing. Fifteen years of experience in the public school system as a special education educator and school counselor provides an insight into academic issues. She has pursued specialized training in therapies that are evidenced based in healing attachment and trauma issues for individual and their families. It is her belief that through a collaborative approach there is hope for your child and family to heal.

Marilyn Crawford

Marilyn Crawford

EMDR Therapist

Registered Play Therapist

281-903-5353

M.A., LPC, RPT

MarilynC@atchouston.com

Ms. Crawford specializes in trauma resolution in adults and children. She applies training from EMDR, Play Therapy, ILS Safe and Sound, Neurofeedback and Brainspotting therapies to help clients process difficult experiences and emotions. She is also trained in the treatment of attachment trauma in children. Ms. Crawford is passionate about working with people who want to heal the past and pursue better relationships with themselves, others and their environment. 

Meagan Davenport

Meagan Davenport

Licensed Professional Counselor Intern, EMDR Therapist

Therapist Intern

281-903-5353

M.Ed., LPC-Intern, NCC, CSC

MeaganD@atchouston.com

Ms. Davenport is dedicated to helping children, adolescents, and their families find a harmonious family balance in the often hectic and chaotic world of today. The fifteen years spent in the public education system as a classroom teacher has equipped Ms. Davenport with a current and realistic view of the pressures and concerns of both students and parents. Ms. Davenport believes that it is through a collaborative family approach the most healing can occur.

Rebecca Hixson

Rebecca Hixson

EMDR Therapist

TBRI® Practitioner

281-903-5353

M.A. LPC

RebeccaH@atchouston.com

Ms. Hixson is dedicated to helping adults, children, and families achieve their goals for healthy relationships and fulfilling lives. Unhealthy patterns in relationships, due to traumatic experiences, can occur throughout an individual’s life span, she works cooperatively together to identify those. Specialized training on the impact of unhealthy attachment and trauma allows her to create individualized treatment plans for each client that makes hope and healing possible.

Natasha Young

Natasha Young

Individual Therapist

Couples Therapist

281-903-5353

M.Ed, LPC

NatashaY@atchouston.com

Ms. Young has a passion for helping couples improve communication and connect to building lasting bonds.  She provides individual, couples, family and group therapy, to help clients process grief, depression, stress and anxiety and behavioral concerns.  She has provided counseling in various academic settings, including counseling in the public school system as well as in higher education, including students who have special educational needs and disabilities.

Janella Gee

Janella Gee

Licensed Professional Counselor

Registered Play Therapist

281-903-5353

M.Ed., LPC, RPT

JanellaG@atchouston.com

Ms. Gee specializes in working with young children and their families through client-centered play therapy and parenting. She has been in the field of play therapy since 2011. Prior to play therapy, Ms. Gee worked as an early childhood educator. She believes that a child communicates through play and uses toys as their words. She looks at the situation of your family to collaborate on ways that meet your family’s needs and improve family relationships.

Maggie Francis

Maggie Francis

Licensed Professional Therapist

EMDR Therapist

281-903-5353

LPC

MaggieF@atchouston.com

Ms. Francis is a bilingual English/Spanish speaking licensed therapist who has been in practice for 17 years. She enjoys working with a diverse clients across the lifespan with varied experiences. Her special areas of expertise are assisting clients with anxiety, depression, grief and loss, anger, coping strategies, stress, trauma and life transitions. Ms. Francis’ hope is through a collaborative and nurturing process you will realize personal growth and a new way of being.

Toni Lawrence, MSW, LMSW

Toni Lawrence, MSW, LMSW

M.S.W., LMSW

EMDR Therapist

281-903-5353

Crisis Response Plan Therapist

ToniL@atchouston.com

Ms. Lawrence is passionate in her work with clients working to heal their past and achieve healthy relationships. She specializes in trauma resolution with clients across the lifespan. Her experience as a military service member provides a unique connection with Veterans and military families. Ms. Lawrence’s extensive training in EMDR, TF-CBT, DBT and Radically Open Dialectical Behavior provides an extensive variety of strategies to assist clients struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm behaviors.

Services

There are many types of therapy. At our center we focus on those that utilize the brain’s ability to heal itself. We are eclectic in our approach interweaving various evidence-based modalities to provide the unique approach each individual needs to heal. We allow each person to move through the healing process at their own pace. Play can serve as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue between the child and therapist. In our work with children, play allows them to process their trauma especially when combined with neuroscience modalities, including EMDR, Brainspotting, Theraplay® and Neurofeedback.

These are the therapies we offer for children: (click on the name of the therapy to learn more about it)

The foundation of therapy is the relationship with a trusted, specially trained therapist who can help young people deal with the causes of distress and help them acquire the skills to cope more adaptively in the future.  The goal is to create a situation in which adolescents can express themselves fully in order to develop self-understanding and new, lasting changes in emotional states and behavior. Therapy with children and adolescents is a collaborative endeavor with parents or caregivers.

These are the therapies we offer for adolescents: (click on the name of the therapy to learn more about it)

Individual therapy is a collaborative process through which individuals work one-on-one with a trained therapist in a safe, caring, and confidential environment to explore their feelings, beliefs, or behaviors, identify aspects of their lives that they would like to change, better understand themselves and others, set personal goals, and work toward desired change.  The overall goal of therapy is to increase one’s sense of well-being.

These are the therapies we offer for adults: (click on the name of the therapy to learn more about it)

Play Therapy

Initially developed in the turn of the 20th century, today play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002). Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.

Play is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. It expands self-expression, self- knowledge, self-actualization and self-efficacy. Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our emotions, and boosts our ego (Landreth, 2002). In addition, play allows us to practice skills and roles needed for survival.

Children are referred for play therapy to resolve their problems (Carmichael; 2006; Schaefer, 1993). Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, and they misbehave, may act out at home, with friends, and at school (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy allows trained mental health practitioners who specialize in play therapy, to assess and understand children’s play. Further, play therapy is utilized to help children cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to problems.

 

1. What should I tell my child about play therapy?

Ms. Brown will discuss this at the intake interview with the parent/parents. Each child is unique and requires a special response for this question. She also provides handouts and brochures to insure you are comfortable responding to questions your child may have.

2. How will I be informed about my child’s progress?

Ms. Brown meets with parents at feedback sessions throughout the process. She is available to provide assistance when issues arise between sessions. You can also meet briefly with her before a child’s session, if necessary.

3. What should I say to my child after a session?

Please allow your child to tell you as little or as much they would like about their time in the playroom. It is not helpful to ask questions about the sessions, this can make the child uncomfortable. There may be times when a session is emotionally difficult for your child, this may lead to an increase in difficult behaviors. This is normal and can be expected as they process through the issues that are concerning them. You can contact Ms. Brown to discuss strategies if you are concerned.

4. What should my child wear to play therapy?

There are toys, paint, clay, playdoh, and sand in the playroom. Things can get messy, so please dress your child in clothes that can be soiled without any concerns.
Andrew’s Day: Video

Play is a child’s first language. When a child plays they express thoughts and feelings that would otherwise remain hidden. That’s why play therapy is such a powerful tool to address a child’s behavioral and emotional challenges.

 

 

Why Choose a Registered Play Therapist?

There is another credential that play therapists in the United States can achieve called the Registered Play Therapist (RPT). This credential is provided through the Association for Play Therapy. It requires the play therapist to have at least a master’s degree and license in a mental health field, to complete a substantial amount of play therapy training, to have extensive clinical experience, and to have received play therapy supervision.

Sandtray Therapy

It is a form of expressive therapy. Sandtray Therapy allows a person to construct his or her own story using miniature figures and sand. The story created can be a reflection of the person’s own life and allows them to resolve conflicts, remove obstacles, and gain acceptance of self.
This type of therapy is often used with children, but can be applied to adults, teens, couples, families, and groups as well. Many children are unable to verbalize emotional states, particularly in the face of trauma, neglect, or abuse. This method of therapy serves as a valuable and powerful outlet for children and an incredibly insightful method of gaining access to traumatic experiences.

1. How long has Sandtray Therapy been used for children?

It was developed by Margaret Lowenfeld in London in the 1920’s. Humans think in images and not words, they can see their world in the sandtray story. She discovered it was very beneficial for children because of their limited verbal ability express feelings.

2. Why is it different from other types of Play Therapy?

The non-verbal nature of Sandtray Therapy and the familiar medium of sand can help children achieve feelings of comfort and security. With little instruction from the therapist, the child is free to play and develop his or her own expression of situations. Often the children will experience a sense of independent play and will begin making assumptions and behavior changes without cues from the therapist.

3. Is Sandtray Therapy used in combination with other therapy types?

Sandtray Therapy can be combined to tell the child’s story as EMDR allows the brain to heal the child’s mixed up thoughts about an event or feeling. It can also be integrated into play therapy.

4. What is the purpose of the miniature figures used in sand tray therapy?

Figures and objects from culture and nature symbolize events and situations in our inner and outer life. Children select and place objects, while moving the sand to create scenes expressing their deepest concerns.

Sandtray Therapy Video

While play is a fun activity that can help a child learn, it can also be used to help children who have experienced trauma, learn coping skills. Well take a look at the benefits of sand play therapy. 0 to 5 in 30 Minutes! is a product of Valley Public Television. The program is sponsored by First 5 Fresno County, First 5 Tulare County, and First 5 Madera County.

Theraplay

Theraplay® provides techniques for children and families to create relationships that are based on nurturing and trust. The joy that play brings to children is also brought into the parent child relationship.

Theraplay® focuses on four central parent/child connection areas: nurture, structure, engagement, and challenge. Attachment and trust between parent and child are built through activities that encourage a secure bond for the child with the caregiver. Through play children are able to build self-esteem, trust, become more regulated, and connect with others in a meaningful and authentic way. Healing from trauma can be healed with techniques that are used allowing children and their families to reconnect with a safe and secure attachment. Theraplay can be especially beneficial for foster/adopt families.

1. What ages benefit can benefit from Theraplay®?

Theraplay is appropriate for children of all ages, including babies. It can also be beneficial for teenagers when combined with other techniques.

2. Will parents learn to use Theraplay?

Parents and caregivers are eventually able to use these techniques with the child at home continuing to build a connected relationship with their child.

3. How long has Theraplay been used?

Theraplay has been used since 1975 in 36 countries and is a research based therapeutic modality for all ages, including babies.

4. How does Theraplay help?

A child begins to view themselves as lovable and deserving of relationships with others as a result of the enjoyable social connection experienced with Theraplay.
More information about Theraplay and The Theraplay Institute are available at:
http://www.theraplay.org/index.php/about-tti

EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.

1. How do children use EMDR?

For children, EMDR allows them to remove mixed-up thoughts or feelings. These thoughts can be like a heavy bag the child carries until the thoughts are healed. Tapping, eye movement, and bilateral stimulation can be used to allow the brain to heal.

2. Is additional training necessary to use EMDR with children?

Yes, it is. There are several providers who specialize in providing EMDR Training focused on helping children. Ms. Brown has pursued extensive additional training regarding the use of EMDR with children.

Attachment Therapy

Throughout life, each of us will form thousands of relationships. These bonds take many forms. Some are enduring and intimate-our dearest friend- while others are transient and superficial-the chatty store clerk. Together, relationships in all forms create the glue of a family, community, and society. This capacity to form and maintain relationships is the most important trait of humankind, for without it none of us would survive, learn, work, or procreate.

The first and most important of all relationships are attachment bonds. Initially, these are created through interactions with our primary caregivers, usually parents. First, relationships help define our capacity for attachment and set the tone for all of our future relationships.

Attachments influence the developing brain, which in turn affects future interactions with others, self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to learn and to achieve optimum mental and physical health. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Low self esteem
  • Needy, clingy or pseudo-independent behavior
  • Inability to deal with stress and adversity
  • Lack of self-control
  • Inability to develop and maintain friendships
  • Alienation from and opposition to parents, caregivers, and other authority figures
  • Antisocial attitudes and behaviors
  • Aggression and violence
  • Difficulty with genuine trust, intimacy, and affection
  • Negative, hopeless, pessimistic view of self, family and society
  • Lack of empathy, compassion and remorse
  • Behavioral and academic problems at school
  • Speech and language problems
  • Incessant chatter and questions
  • Difficulty learning
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Susceptibility to chronic illness
  • Obsession with food: hordes, gorges, refuses to eat, eats strange things, hides food
  • Repetition of the cycle of maltreatment and attachment disorder in their own children when they reach adulthood
  • Sensory Processing Disorder

1. Is it possible for a biological child to have attachment challenges?

We have learned through neuroscience that various well-intentioned and unavoidable situations could possibly have a negative impact on the attachment of a child.Necessary medical interventions, chronic ear infections, asthma, stress for the mother during pregnancy, difficult birth, and hospitalization, especially in the first three years, could affect a child’s ability to trust adults.

“Even in utero and after birth, for every moment of every day, our brain is processing the nonstop set of incoming signals from our senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell, taste—all of the raw sensory data that will result in these sensations enter the lower parts of the brain and begin a multistage process of being categorized, compared to previously stored patterns, and ultimately, if necessary, acted upon.”

Perry, Bruce D. Dr. The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing. 2007. 

Pre-genetic disposition may also impact a child’s emotional development and self-regulation ability, children who are genetically wired to be more anxious may possibly interpret facial expressions and body language in a negative manner.

According to Seigel and Hartzell, (2003) a parent’s own unresolved issues from their childhood may impact their ability to effectively respond in parenting, causing them to become frozen in their ability to adapt to their own role of caring for their children in a clear and consistent manner. This has the potential to have a generational effect in parenting. We genuinely believe that parents do the best that they can with what they have been given (through their childhood experiences). If parents do not know how to meet their children’s needs because they did not experience this, they need to be shown.

2. Is it ever too late to heal attachment challenges?

Neuroscience has revealed that brain plasticity is possible throughout life. This provides an opportunity to rewire the brain and the response to relationships.

Awareness is such a powerful tool and parents are generally eager to learn, it can be helpful to be shown by someone who has the knowledge either through professional training, research, or experience.

We can learn to re-wire the brain through pattern-repetitive behavior that will forms new connections (new blueprints in our brain). Parenting psycho-education is vital for helping parents learn to attune to their children’s needs, how to regulate them (mind and body) and how to form healthy attachment relationships that will serve as a resiliency factor throughout the lifespan.

Alvarado, (2008)

“when relationships hurt, we learn not to trust in relationships, whether at work, school or home.” we work with people to help change the blueprints that people carry with them to form new understanding about people and the world around us.”

This is a core belief for our therapists in our center and is the foundation of our work.

3. For Adults: How can I have attachment issues – my parents loved me?

Even if your parents loved you, they may not have been capable of meeting your needs.

As babies, when we reach out and no one reaches back, when we express needs and no one listens, we often give up. Or if our caregiver is present some of the time and neglectful or abusive at others we become confused and keep reaching, keep hoping someone will be there.

In this process, we decide things about ourselves, such as “I must be unlovable” or “something must be wrong with me.” We then begin a lifelong quest to either avoid real intimacy or to find it, but when it shows up, in our desperation, we often unconsciously push it away. This longing and/or dissatisfaction often leads to anxiety, depression, co-dependency, addictions, fear of intimacy, rigidity, and wanting to hurt or be hurt as well as a failure to thrive as adults.

4. For Adults: Is it too late to heal my attachment challenges?

The brain remains flexible throughout life, nonverbal communication retains the capacity to change. Studies in people over age ninety show us images of mature brains that continue to produce new neural pathways at a time when older pathways are dying.

The same experiential and social factors that profoundly shape the brain initially can also be instrumental in repairing the causes and symptoms of stress related disorders.

For Children & Adolescents:

We use an approach that combines Eye Movement Desensitization Response (EMDR), Integrative Family Attachment Trauma Protocol (IATP), and Trust Based Relationship Intervention (TBRI©). These are evidence based therapy modalities that provide an approach that heals the entire family, providing behavioral changes that allow the child to improve their emotional regulation skills.

The family is guided through a process that involves a series of specific EMDR interventions in addition to parenting strategies to strengthen and build the attachment in the relationships. The parenting strategies are at the foundation of our work, since traditional behavior methods are not a successful approach for children with attachment/trauma challenges.

For Adults:

Our evidence-based therapy utilizing Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR) and Attachment based therapy can help you change the effects of an “adult attachment disorder” with our nurturing processes and experiences within a safe and caring environment.

Here we gently and safely guide you to discover your early experiences, beliefs, and coping strategies that keep you from having the love you want or keeping the love you find.

EMDR and attachment based therapy goes a lot deeper than talk therapy. The goal is to free a person from the unresolved emotions and triggers so that he or she becomes freer to live in the present.

Using EMDR to process traumatic events allows you to work through the emotions and sensory memories stored with them. In re-examining them, you are able to feel those feelings now, work through them now and defuse them once and for all. The released emotional pain is no longer repressed and allowed to fester.

You will discover the roots of current relationship issues and heal them at the source, giving you an experience of your authentic self. You will begin to experience yourself as lovable, capable, and worthy and will learn strategies to continue to build your newfound feelings of safety and potential as well as the skills to build healthy relationships and be more successful in every area of your life.

Trauma Therapy

Traumatization is stress frozen in place –locked into a pattern of neurological distress that doesn’t go away by returning to a state of equilibrium. Traumatization promotes ongoing disability that can take many mental, social, emotional and physical forms.

Much like stress, trauma is experienced uniquely by each person. Traumatized children have impaired wiring in the brain’s limbic system and altered levels of stress hormones, resulting in anxiety, depression, and self-regulation problems. Effective treatment and parenting rewires the limbic system and reduces the biochemistry of stress.

The ability to recognize emotional trauma has changed radically over the course of history. Until recently psychological trauma was noted only in men after catastrophic wars. The women’s movement in the sixties broadened the definition of emotional trauma to include physical and sexual abuse of women and children.

Now, the impact of psychological trauma has extended to experiences that include:
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, etc.
  • Physical assault, including rape, incest, molestation, domestic abuse and serious bodily harm
  • Serious accidents, such as automobile or other high-impact scenarios
  • Experiencing or witnessing horrific injury, carnage or fatalities
Other often overlooked potential sources of psychological trauma include:
  • Adoption
  • Falls or sports injuries
  • Surgery, particularly emergency, and medical interventions especially in first 3 years of life
  • Serious illness, especially when accompanied by very high fever
  • Neurological disruption caused by experiences in the womb
  • Birth trauma
  • NICU after birth
  • Hearing about violence to or sudden death of someone close
  • An auto accident considered minor by adults
  • The breakup of a significant relationship
  • A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
  • Forced separation very early in life from the primary caregiver
  • Chronic mis-attunement of a caregiver to a child’s attachment signals (“mal-attachment”)
  • Moving, changing schools, or change in life circumstances
  • Bullying
  • Isolation/lack of healthy attachments
  • Sudden loud noises for babies or young children
  • Recurrent medical issues early in life for example: Ear infections, asthma, seizures, reflux, allergies
  • Caregivers with insecure attachment styles of their own or unresolved baggage of their own
  • Genetic predisposition

1. Is it possible for a biological child to have attachment challenges?

We have learned through neuroscience that various well-intentioned and unavoidable situations could possibly have a negative impact on the attachment of a child.Necessary medical interventions, chronic ear infections, asthma, stress for the mother during pregnancy, difficult birth, and hospitalization, especially in the first three years, could affect a child’s ability to trust adults.

“Even in utero and after birth, for every moment of every day, our brain is processing the nonstop set of incoming signals from our senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell, taste—all of the raw sensory data that will result in these sensations enter the lower parts of the brain and begin a multistage process of being categorized, compared to previously stored patterns, and ultimately, if necessary, acted upon.”

Perry, Bruce D. Dr. The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing. 2007. 

Pre-genetic disposition may also impact a child’s emotional development and self-regulation ability, children who are genetically wired to be more anxious may possibly interpret facial expressions and body language in a negative manner.

According to Seigel and Hartzell, (2003) a parent’s own unresolved issues from their childhood may impact their ability to effectively respond in parenting, causing them to become frozen in their ability to adapt to their own role of caring for their children in a clear and consistent manner. This has the potential to have a generational effect in parenting. We genuinely believe that parents do the best that they can with what they have been given (through their childhood experiences). If parents do not know how to meet their children’s needs because they did not experience this, they need to be shown.

2. Is it ever too late to heal attachment challenges?

Neuroscience has revealed that brain plasticity is possible throughout life. This provides an opportunity to rewire the brain and the response to relationships.

Awareness is such a powerful tool and parents are generally eager to learn, it can be helpful to be shown by someone who has the knowledge either through professional training, research, or experience.

We can learn to re-wire the brain through pattern-repetitive behavior that will forms new connections (new blueprints in our brain). Parenting psycho-education is vital for helping parents learn to attune to their children’s needs, how to regulate them (mind and body) and how to form healthy attachment relationships that will serve as a resiliency factor throughout the lifespan.

Alvarado, (2008)

“when relationships hurt, we learn not to trust in relationships, whether at work, school or home.” we work with people to help change the blueprints that people carry with them to form new understanding about people and the world around us.”

This is a core belief for our therapists in our center and is the foundation of our work.

3. For Adults: How can I have attachment issues – my parents loved me?

Even if your parents loved you, they may not have been capable of meeting your needs.

As babies, when we reach out and no one reaches back, when we express needs and no one listens, we often give up. Or if our caregiver is present some of the time and neglectful or abusive at others we become confused and keep reaching, keep hoping someone will be there.

In this process, we decide things about ourselves, such as “I must be unlovable” or “something must be wrong with me.” We then begin a lifelong quest to either avoid real intimacy or to find it, but when it shows up, in our desperation, we often unconsciously push it away. This longing and/or dissatisfaction often leads to anxiety, depression, co-dependency, addictions, fear of intimacy, rigidity, and wanting to hurt or be hurt as well as a failure to thrive as adults.

4. For Adults: Is it too late to heal my attachment challenges?

The brain remains flexible throughout life, nonverbal communication retains the capacity to change. Studies in people over age ninety show us images of mature brains that continue to produce new neural pathways at a time when older pathways are dying.

The same experiential and social factors that profoundly shape the brain initially can also be instrumental in repairing the causes and symptoms of stress related disorders.

Trauma intervention is needed to allow the brain to process the event to prevent triggers of emotions in the future. All ages can benefit from therapy to process the trauma through neuroscience there is evidence of the plasticity of the brain to heal until death.

Trauma is a sensory experience and it is an experience like no other, commonly marked by a state of terror and powerlessness. Individuals of all ages can experience trauma, including infants and children.

Even when we do not consciously recall our trauma experiences (because of our age or protective functions such as repression) our body holds the memory, as does our mind. Regardless of the level of perceived intensity of effect on an individual, treatment promotes resilience later in life.

Traumatizing events can take a serious emotional toll on those involved, even if the event did not cause physical damage.

TBRI® Trust Based Relational Intervention

Developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at the TCU Child Development Institute. It has been successfully used for children with a wide range of behavioral challenges for whom other interventions have failed. TBRI® consists of three sets of harmonious principles: Connecting, Empowering, and Correcting. It is a holistic approach that is attachment-centered and flexible for challenging behaviors.

Most children are treated through the traditional medical model—consisting of visits to a practitioner’s office, with caregivers playing a superficial role in the child’s treatment. TBRI® includes caregivers and may be more effective because treatment occurs in the child’s environment where challenges occur. Our center involves parents in the treatment to provide the parent with the necessary strategies to respond to the behavioral challenges. Relationship-based trauma can only be resolved through loving, stable relationships such as can be offered by nurturing caregivers.

Why doesn’t traditional discipline work with my child?

Children who have experienced relationship-based trauma or early childhood trauma due to medical interventions need to feel safe and secure in order to respond appropriately. Traditional discipline triggers the child’s fight or flight response and behaviors escalate rather than decrease.

How is TBRI® different?

Parents and caregivers learn to look for the causes behind the behavior and create a safe environment for the child based on those needs. The phrase “A Scary Child is a Scared Child” describes the cause frequently pushing the extreme behaviors seen in children with attachment and trauma challenges.

How will I learn to use TBRI® when I am already overwhelmed by my child’s needs?

Our therapists provide the support and education needed to implement this program in a strategic manner for your child’s needs. We understand change is hard and provide a team therapist approach to enable a successful implementation of this program for your family.

Will TBRI® work for older children and teens?

Regardless of their ages, all children and teens require the need to feel safe and secure with their caregivers. Providing nurturing support allows children to openly discuss their feelings with their parents resulting in a healthy relationship. Dysfunctional behaviors can create barriers that block the development of healthy relationships. Targeting the causes or feelings behind the behavior allows for healthy open conversation about those feelings.

Highly Sensitive Person/Child

The definition of a highly sensitive person is someone who experiences acute physical, mental, or emotional responses to stimuli. This can include external stimuli, like your surroundings and the people you’re with, or internal stimuli, like your own thoughts, emotions and realizations.

While everyone feels sensitive at times, and everyone reacts to stimuli to some degree, being a highly sensitive person means you experience a much greater response — so much so that it can seem overwhelming. Many highly sensitive people need to excuse themselves from high-stimulus environments, often having a “refuge” where they can be alone and “ground” their reactions.

Because of their need to spend time alone, highly sensitive people are often confused with introverts. The truth is that anyone can be highly sensitive, whether introverted, extroverted, or anywhere in between. (Courtesy of Dr. Elaine Aron)

High Sensitivity is a normal trait found in about 20% of the population. If you are wondering if you might be Highly Sensitive seeking a psychotherapist who is specially trained in working with this trait is the first step.

When a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is compared to the rest of the population, they can easily look abnormal and misdiagnosed as having a disorder. A professional who is not trained in working with an HSP can add to their distress. Mistaking that is it must be HS (Highly Sensitive) or something different, when HS can actually co-occur with other significant challenges is a common issue. Seeking psychotherapy with a specially trained therapist is essential to the accurate evaluation and effective treatment. Our center has several highly trained therapists in working with Highly Sensitive Adults and Children. (Courtesy of Dr. Elaine Aron)

Are more females Highly Sensitive (HS) than males?

There are as many males as females born with HS. There will be differences due to gender, family, and culture and how their sensitivity has been viewed by them.

Is Introvert the same as Highly Sensitive?

About 70% of Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are introverts, so the two are sometimes considered associated. The 30% of HSP who are extraverted are a different flavor of sensitivity. They enjoy being in large groups of people and social events, but also require plenty of down time.

Children and High Sensitivity (HS) – what are the indications?

Since children cannot verbalize their feelings and what their behavior means. Are they shy? Afraid? Self-esteem? Over-stimulated? Too cautious? These traits are all applied to children who are HS. However, the trait can also be mistaken for a disorder. It can be mistaken as HS when there truly is a serious disorder that needs specialized treatment. The earlier the problem is treated the more successful the outcome. The trait can also co-occur with HS, which requires an evaluation by a specially trained child developmental professional in working with Highly Sensitive Children.

Brainspotting

Brainspotting is a powerful treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with Bilateral sound, which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing.

Brainspotting provides a tool, within a clinical relationship, to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity. Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.

Brainspotting (BSP) makes use of the phenomenon that “where you look affects how you feel” by using relevant eye positions. This helps the therapist locate, focus, process, and release a wide range of emotionally and bodily-based conditions. BSP is also a brain-based tool to support the therapeutic relationship.

We believe BSP utilizes the ability of the brain and body to naturally scan and empower self-healing abilities. When a brainspot is stimulated, the deep brain appears to reflexively indicate to the therapist that the source of discomfort has been located. BSP is then utilized to find and strengthen our natural resources and resilience. It can be utilized with other modalities including play therapy and sandtray therapy.

Who does Brainspotting (BSP) work for?

Brainspotting is effective for a wide variety of emotional and somatic conditions. Brainspotting is particularly effective with trauma-based situations, helping to identify and heal underlying trauma that contributes to anxiety, depression and other behavioral conditions. It can also be used with performance and creativity enhancement. Brainspotting gives the therapist access to both brain and body processes. Its goal is to bypass the conscious, neocortical thinking to access the deeper, subcortical emotional and body-based parts of the brain.

Why choose Brainspotting (BSP)?

For those who have sought therapy before and did not find it helpful, BSP can be a different experience. Utilizing focus and precision of the eye position, the location of the issue with anxiety, trauma, and depression can be targeted and processed. This allows the brain to process from the bottom up and inside out, utilizing the brain’s natural healing ability. It can be a time efficient and effective modality for the many challenges encountered in today’s fast paced world.

Will Brainspotting help children?

Brainspotting with children can be very effective to process and target areas of the brain that hold the underlying issues that impact behaviors. Behaviors are the result of feelings that the child is not able to verbalize. Through the use of bio lateral music and play therapy children are able to target the underlying issue and process it using the brain’s self-healing power. Several of our play therapists have been specially trained to use Brainspotting with children and teens.

LENS Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is direct training typically provided by health professionals such as psychologists, family therapists, and counselors. We observe the brain in action from moment to moment and that information is brought back to the person by way of the sensors.

Neurofeedback is also called EEG Biofeedback, because it is based on electrical brain activity, the electroencephalogram, or EEG. Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. Self-regulation is a necessary part of optimal brain performance and function. Self-regulation training allows the nervous system to function better.

The LENS is a specific kind of Neurofeedback that operates much more rapidly than traditional Neurofeedback and has qualities that make it much easier to use with people who can’t sit still. With the LENS, the client doesn’t need to “do” anything, and there is nothing to learn. The typical session with the LENS lasts 3-4 minutes. This means that the LENS works well for people who either cannot or will not pay attention to a computer screen for longer time periods.

Additionally, the LENS works much faster than traditional Neurofeedback with the number of sessions ranging from as few as 1 to an overall average number of sessions of 20.

The LENS, or Low Energy Neurofeedback System, is a unique and effective form of neurotherapy that facilitates changes in people of all ages with a wide variety of presenting issues. As a result, it has the capacity to address numerous symptoms and deficits. It is remarkably effective, and over 85% of people who have used the LENS have benefitted significantly from it. Results can be seen quickly, often beginning within the first session, and are lasting. It may be utilized as the primary treatment approach, or as an adjunct to other therapies. Patients across the lifespan, from young children to older adults, have benefited from LENS.

The LENS works well with problems of the Central Nervous System, which can be numerous. These include symptoms of anxiety-depression spectrum, attention deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, PMS and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy. These are all signs of Central Nervous System dysfunction which result in the body’s difficulty regulating itself.

What conditions can the LENS be helpful with?

Cognition – Problems sequencing, memory, providing and maintaining attention, concentration, clarity and organization.
Mood – Anger, sadness, explosiveness.
Motor – Lack of grace, problems of eye-hand coordination, balance, increased muscle tone (from spasticity) and tremor.
Motivation – Problems initiating tasks, shifting from one activity to another, and/or completing tasks.
Anxiety – Problems of anxiety system activity (too much uncomfortably-contained energy), persistent “anxiety”, restlessness, rumination, agitation, distractibility, difficulty breathing, palpitations, tremor exacerbation, and sleep interruption.
Reactivity – Hyper-reactivity, hypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivities.
Pain – Brain-generated pain (mismapping the origins and qualities of signals), and vascular pain.
Addictions/Dependencies – Lack of clarity about emotions and self-comforting, defensiveness, argumentativeness and cynicism.
Fatigue – Fatigue; or fatigue as a phenomenon secondary to the effort of trying to overcome the pain and/or the above impediment to functioning more easily.
Performance Optimization – Increases in functioning in the above areas in absence of any diagnosis.

The LENS works well with symptoms of Central Nervous Symptom dysfunction. These include symptoms of ADD, ADHD, Seizures and sub-clinical seizure activity, severely disruptive behavior disorders such as Conduct Disorder, Reactive Attachment and Bipolar Disorder, Autistic spectrum and pervasive developmental delay, Cerebral palsy, concussive injuries, PTSD, Acquired Brain Injury, and Birth Trauma.

The LENS works extremely well with the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury, no matter how long ago the incident occurred. The trauma can be from a physical blow, a concussive injury, a psychological incident (PTSD), or any other incident(s) which results in a decrease in cognitive ability. Many children have sleep problems that can be helped such as bed wetting, sleep walking, sleep talking, teeth grinding, nightmares, and night terrors. The LENS can also be helpful with many of the symptoms of adolescence including drug abuse, suicidal behavior, anxiety and depression. The LENS can also help in maintaining good brain function as people age.

Do the results of LENS last?

If the problem being addressed is one of brain dysregulation, then the answer is yes, and that covers a lot of ground. Neurofeedback involves learning by the brain and if that brings order out of disorder, the brain will continue to use its new capabilities, and thus reinforce them.

At times there are unknown issues such as early-stage degenerative disease, allergies, strong reactions to some foods or pollens, or spills and falls leading to bumps on the head. In these instances longer courses of the LENS may be needed. And it may also be that some direct medical help may be the best course of action. The LENS can’t do everything for everybody. But it can and has made a difference that other approaches have not provided, and in general, in a much shorter time. Matters are different when we are dealing with degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s or the dementias, or when we are working against continuing insults to the system, as may be the case in the autism spectrum. In such cases, the LENS sessions may need to be continued at some level over time. Allergic susceptibilities and food intolerances may make it more difficult to maintain the gains. Poor digestive function will pose a problem, as does poor nutrition. A child living in a toxic environment (in either the physical or the psychological sense) may have more difficulty retaining good function.

Is neurofeedback a cure?

In the case of organic brain disorders, it can only be a matter of getting the brain to function better rather than of curing the condition. When it comes to problems of dysregulation, we would say that there is not a disease to be cured. Where dysregulation is the problem, self-regulation may very well be the remedy. But again, the word cure would not apply.

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