Children Therapy

Child Therapy Sessions in Brighton and Plymouth, MI


Children Therapy - McCaskill Family Services - counseling-services-child-therapyWhen your child is born with a disability or is struggling at any age, it hurts you worse as a parent, than any struggles you have been through in your own life. 

You want to protect your child at all costs and make their childhood as happy as possible. You may have turned to books, the internet or advice from your pediatrician, family or friends, but wonder if there is something more that you can do to help your child.

You may have even tried therapy, but either you or your child didn’t feel a comfortable connection to the therapist, had no idea what was going on once you dropped your child off for the session, didn’t get any advice on what to do as a parent to help your child and/or you were not seeing results. 

At McCaskill Family Services, our pediatric psychologists have advanced specialties in working with children of all ages using primarily Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. We are expertly trained in a variety of problems specific to children and have received advanced education in child development. Through specialized training working with children beyond that of a psychologist who works primarily with adults, we are experts in conditions that affect children and we are able help each child reach their fullest potential at any age. 

We have a very child-friendly office stocked with toys and a colorful, comfortable environment for your child to feel welcomed and safe at any age. 

It does not feel like a “doctor’s office”, but rather like an extension of school or home so that children feel especially comfortable coming in to see us. In fact, most children eagerly anticipate their appointments and siblings often ask if they can come too. We are part of a team that includes you (and, if applicable, his/her teachers or other caretakers). You, as the parent, are involved at every step and will be simultaneously trained in any techniques we teach your child so that you can reinforce them outside of the treatment session. We also will often teach you parenting strategies and techniques to use at home to improve your child’s behavioral, emotional and psychological functioning. Our empirically proven treatment techniques will never leave you wondering “what did my child do during their session”.

If your child is struggling in school, we will first fully understand the source of their difficulties.

We work with teachers/school personnel to create positive behavioral plans to improve school functioning. We always have an eye toward the future and we will help you and your child through every stage of development. We specialize in working with children of all ages, from birth through young adult. With over 150 years of combined experience in working with children, we have experts who specialize in all childhood problems. Many of our doctors are affiliated with major universities and children’s hospitals so as to keep up with the latest research and effective treatments specific to children. 


Common Types of Child Anxiety We Treat

Child Anxiety

Your child may show outward signs of anxiety such as panic attacks, withdrawing from school or social activities, excessive worrying (the “what-if?s”) or specific fears. These symptoms are easily recognized as anxiety. However, in children, anxiety often manifests itself as irritability, agitation, defiance, anger or sleep difficulties. We understand that watching your child struggle with stress and anxiety can be very difficult. Your attempts to help your child may not be working or he/she may be requiring constant reassurance through excessive questioning and self-doubt. You may be concerned that the symptoms are getting worse and may start (or continue) to affect their grades, friendships and ability to function independently. We specialize in anxiety and after a brief consultation, we will be able to tell you if the difficulties your child is exhibiting are something that will pass as a normal stage of development or if it something more serious that can cause further difficulties if not treated.

Anxiety is genetically inherited much like eye or hair color. If anxiety runs in your family, this is even more reason to address it as early as possible. Our clinicians at McCaskill Family Services specialize in the most empirically-effective treatment for anxiety known as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Through our extensive training and experience using this treatment approach, your child will learn strategies in a caring, supportive environment to effectively manage their symptoms of anxiety and you, as the parent, will know exactly what to do to help your child.

See Our Anxiety Treatment Services

Child Excessive Worrying

If your child seems to be worrying about every little thing, is needing more reassurance, is getting more and more clingy or is asking constant “what if?” questions, it is time to get them some help. Even if your child was always a “worrier”, perhaps something has changed in his/her life to cause it to increase. Things such as advancing to a new grade in school, moving or changing schools, parental separation or divorce, illness or death of a peer or loved one, recent tragic news events or an accident can cause anxiety to increase. You may have tried everything to help your child, but the excessive worrying continues.

We understand exactly what you and your child are going through and you are not alone. Decades of research in anxiety and excessive worrying have proven that anxiety is a result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Using the most widely-used, empirically-based treatment called Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we have proven techniques that work (often without medication) to reduce anxiety and worrying so that it is no longer negatively impacting your child’s life. Your child will love coming in to see us (or maybe it’s the prizes they earn for practicing strategies)! We teach you the same strategies we teach your child so that you can work with him/her at home in between sessions. Treatment is often short-term and immediately effective.

See Our Anxiety Treatment Services

Child Stress Management

Stress is part of almost everyone’s daily life. If your child is experiencing stress, it simply means that the demands of the current situation are not matching what he/she is reasonably able to handle at this time.

The two responses to stress are “flight” or “fight”. If your child is battling you at every turn, then they may be in “fight” mode. If your child is withdrawn and isolating themselves, they may be in “flight” mode. Although stress is normal, chronic stress can result in meltdowns, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment such as memory loss, poor concentration and focus. Your child’s academic performance may begin to suffer and the tension at home may be causing you to feel like you are “walking on eggshells”.

If you are looking for some help for your child with stress management, you have come to the right place! We will work with you and your child to develop an individualized stress management plan and we will teach them (and you) specific highly-effective techniques to reduce their stress. All of our strategies are based on research from top universities and medical centers. They will feel better and you will know that you are doing everything possible to help your child during this difficult time. The skills they learn now will be with them in the future.

See Our Anxiety Treatment Services

Child Phobias

If your child is suffering from a phobia, you know that they are controlled by that fear and there is nothing that you can do to convince your child that they are not in danger. The phobia may already be causing so much stress for your child and for other family members who have tried to help or maybe there’s a sibling or parent that thinks this is ridiculous and doesn’t understand what the problem is in the first place.

Well, phobias are real. A phobia is defined as an extreme or irrational fear of something. A phobia is induced when your child perceives a threat. That perceived threat could be anything, which is why we have names for so many different phobias. Some common phobias are claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), agoraphobia (fear of open or crowded spaces), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), acrophobia (fear of heights or flying), germophobia (fear of germs) and asraphobia (fear of thunder or lightning). Did you know that there is a condition called lepidopterophobia? Yes, it’s a fear of butterflies! It is interesting to Google the many different types of phobias. You will be surprised at how many there are. We have seen most of the different types of phobias in our office over the 125 years of combined experience our doctors have in treating phobias.

The more interesting thing that many parents do not know is that phobias are a completely treatable condition. Our clinicians use well-established components of cognitive-behavioral therapy and graduated exposure. Your child is in control of the treatment process and his/her anxiety and fear reduces to the point of being almost nonexistent. Parents and children are often surprised that with a little bit of work and guidance from an expert in the field, the phobia becomes well-managed in a relatively short amount of time. Truly, your child does not need to live with a phobia. There are proven treatment methods that work and we will help.

Child Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is normal from 8 months – 14 months. However, if your child continues to experience extreme anxiety when separated from you to go to school or visit homes of relatives and friends without you, they may be suffering something more severe. We understand that watching your child struggle with anxiety can be very difficult. The intense clinging, crying and pleas for you to stay with them can be heart-wrenching (and sometimes frustrating to deal with). Despite your efforts, your attempts to help your child may not be working.

We specialize in separation anxiety and after a brief consultation we will be able to tell you if the difficulties your child is exhibiting are something that will pass as a normal stage of development or if it something more serious. Anxiety is genetically inherited much like eye or hair color. If anxiety runs in your family, this is even more reason to address it as early as possible. The clinicians at McCaskill Family Services specialize in the most empirically-effective treatment for anxiety, known as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Through our extensive training and experience using this treatment approach, your child will learn strategies in a caring, supportive environment to effectively manage their symptoms of anxiety and you, as the parent, will know exactly what to do to help your child.

See Our Anxiety Treatment Services

Child Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is the fear of interacting with other people leading your child to feel self-consciousness in social situations. Your child may feel as though they are being negatively judged and evaluated or that people are talking about them behind their back. They may feel excessively embarrassed, inferior, inadequate, humiliated, lonely and depressed. They often avoid or withdraw from social situations when in fact they want more than anything to be able to socialize with their peers and fit in.

As alone as your child may feel when suffering from this condition, please tell them they are definitely not alone. Social anxiety is very common and we can help. By using empirically-validated treatment approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy and mindfulness approaches, your child’s anxiety reduces in social situations. As a result, they become more relaxed and confident. They will find that they are able to speak to others just as well as they do when talking to a close family member or friend. Your child will have more friends and feel happier and content. The skills your child learns through therapy now will follow them into the teen years and beyond.

See Our Anxiety Treatment Services

Child Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

All children worry. However, you may notice that your child can’t stop worrying and their worries frequently cause them to do certain things repeatedly in order to get rid of the worry thoughts. These rituals or compulsions (such as frequent hand washing, checking, touching objects in a repetitive fashion, focus on evenness, etc) stop the scary thoughts and help your child to feel safe, clean or okay in some way.

Your attempts to help your child may not be working or he/she may not know why they are engaging in these behaviors. You may be concerned that the symptoms are getting worse and may start (or continue) to affect their grades, friendships and the ability to function independently. We specialize in anxiety and, in particular, obsessive-compulsive disorder. After a brief consultation, we will be able to tell you if the difficulties your child is exhibiting are something that will pass as a normal stage of development or if it something more serious that can cause further difficulties if not treated.

Anxiety and OCD are genetically inherited much like eye or hair color. If anxiety or OCD runs in your family, this is even more reason to address it as early as possible. Our clinicians at McCaskill Family Services specialize in the most empirically-effective treatment for OCD, known as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), including exposure and response prevention. Through our extensive training and experience using this treatment approach, your child will learn strategies in a caring, supportive environment to effectively manage their symptoms of anxiety and you, as the parent, will know exactly what to do to help your child.

Child Perfectionism

If your child is showing signs of perfectionism that are causing them to spend excessive hours on schoolwork, constant erasing and redoing assignments or having difficulty prioritizing tasks and “cutting corners”, they may need professional help. Perfectionism is a behavior that reduces the anxiety some children feel if they do not thoroughly complete a task in a detailed way. Perfectionism does not necessarily apply to every aspect of your child’s life. For example, your child’s room may be a mess and you wish they would put some of their perfectionistic energy into cleaning.

In children, anxiety and resulting perfectionism often manifests itself as meltdowns, irritability, agitation, defiance, anger or sleep difficulties. We understand that watching your child struggle with stress and anxiety can be very difficult. Your child may be resisting your attempts to help him/her or maybe requiring constant reassurance through excessive questioning and self-doubt. You may be concerned that their perfectionistic tendencies may be preventing them from living a balanced life with friends and extracurricular activities.

We specialize in anxiety and, after a brief consultation, we will be able to tell you if the perfectionistic tendencies your child is exhibiting are something that will pass as a normal stage of development or if it something more serious that can cause further difficulties. We specialize in the most empirically-effective treatment for anxiety, known as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Through our extensive training and experience using this treatment approach, you and your child will learn strategies in a caring, supportive environment to effectively manage their perfectionism and you, as the parent, will know exactly what to do to help your child.

See Our Anxiety Treatment Services

 

Common Types of Child Depression We Treat

Child Depression 

If you have noticed changes in your child’s mood and behavior such as becoming more withdrawn, sullen, angry or agitated, crying more than usual, low energy, decreased interest in things they used to enjoy and/or appetite or sleep changes, your child may be suffering from depression. Depression in children can come on gradually over time or can be triggered by an event such as the loss of a loved one, change in schools, academic struggles, social difficulties or parental divorce.

If your child says they think they may be depressed and are asking for help, please call us immediately and we will get you in as soon as possible. Timing is crucial with children, waiting to get help if they are asking can be dangerous and lead to long term problems. If you think your child may be depressed or if depression runs in your family, please schedule an initial consultation appointment with one of our child psychologists. We will help you to know if this is normal childhood behavior or if it something to be more concerned about. Depression in children can lead to future alcohol or drug use, school failure, cutting, self harm and suicide. Early intervention is crucial.

We specialize in the most empirically-established treatment for childhood depression called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). We will work with your child in a comfortable/play-like setting to first figure out what the source of their depression is and then teach them skills to manage their feelings. You as the parents will be also be provided with instruction on what to do outside of the sessions to help your child. Treatment is usually short-term and very effective.

Child Grief and Loss

Children experiencing the loss of someone they love at an early age can be devastatingly painful. Losing a mother, father, sister, brother, best friend or pet hurts so badly. Your child may become withdrawn or depressed or perhaps anxious about their safety and the safety of those they love. Grief can also come in the form of a relationship ending, moving or physical abilities/participation in sports due to an injury.

The most important step that you can take right now is to make that first appointment and allow us to help your child get through this so that the pain becomes more manageable. This will prevent them from shutting down or worse yet experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Through empirically-proven treatments such as mindfulness, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and play therapy, your child will feel better and get some relief. As part of your child’s therapy, we will work with you as their parent to give you practical strategies and suggestions for how to help your child through this difficult time.

Death of a Parent

Losing a parent as a child is one of the most difficult things for a child. It is a totally different level of pain and grief than they have ever experienced. They desperately want to speak to their mom or dad again and, depending on their age, may not even fully understand the finality of death.

Children who lose a parent are at high risk for depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. They may not talk openly about their feelings, making it difficult to know how well they are coping. We specialize in intense grief during the childhood years and we are able to evaluate and monitor their functioning as they go through the grieving process. We will work with you as the other parent or caretaker to know what to do to help your child get through this. Through empirically proven treatments such as mindfulness, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and play therapy, your child will feel better and you will know that you are doing everything possible to help them during this difficult time.

Death of a Sibling

Losing a sibling as a child is very, very difficult. It hits very close to home and your child is not only intensely grieving the loss of their brother or sister, but they are also faced with the realization that death is not only for the elderly. It is a totally different level of pain and grief than they have ever experienced. They desperately want to speak to their sibling again or hold them one more time and they can’t. Your child may have regrets for things they said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do.

Children who lose a sibling are at higher risk for depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. They may not talk openly about their feelings, making it difficult to know how well they are coping. We specialize in intense grief during childhood and we are able to evaluate and monitor their functioning as they go through the grieving process. This is comforting to parents who are also trying to get through their own intense grief and are worried they may miss something with their child’s ability to cope. Through empirically-proven treatments, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and play therapy, we will monitor your child’s functioning and they will feel better and get some relief.

Death of a Friend

Losing a friend as a child is a very painful experience. It hits close to home and your child is not only intensely grieving the loss of their friend, but they are also faced with the realization that young people their age can die. It is a totally different level of pain and grief than they have ever experienced. They desperately want to speak to their friend again and they can’t.

Children who lose a friend are at higher risk for depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. They may not talk openly about their feelings, making it difficult to know how well they are coping. We specialize in grief during childhood and we are able to evaluate and monitor their functioning as they go through the grieving process. Through empirically-proven treatments such as play therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we will monitor your child’s functioning and they will feel better and get some relief. We will give you advice on what to do at home to help your child get through this difficult time.

Child Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder in children had been more recently studied and the symptoms can be much different than adults with this condition. The ups and downs of your child’s mood and explosive meltdowns are very challenging for parents to understand and manage.

Our pediatric doctors, through a comprehensive assessment, will be able to determine if your child has Bipolar Disorder. Many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions, so we will carefully assess and use this information to guide treatment interventions. Treatment for Bipolar Disorder yields the best outcomes when medication is combined with individual psychotherapy. We use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness and parent coaching to treat the condition. As a parent, you will have a comprehensive instruction will know exactly what to do at home to manage the mood swings and meltdowns.

 

Common Types of Child Health Conditions We Treat

Child Eating Disorders

Although eating disorders are relatively rare in young children, if you think your child may be suffering from an eating disorder it is crucial that you get help immediately. The longer that it goes untreated, the more difficult it is to treat on an outpatient basis and may lead to hospitalization. Restricting food intake resulting in being underweight, an intense fear of gaining weight, excessive focus on body image and inability to recognize the severity of the situation are common symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa. Binge Eating Disorder involves episodes of consuming very large amounts of food with a feeling of being out of control followed by intense feelings of guilt and shame. Bulimia Nervosa is similar to Binge Eating Disorder although attempts are made to prevent weight gain by vomiting or other methods.

Eating disorders are quite common in older children, teens and adults. However, because the person affected by the condition is often not able to see how serious it is, it is often a loved one who prompts them to get help. If you are reading this and you are concerned about your child with an potential eating disorder, we can help you.

 

Child Picky Eaters

If you are a parent of a child who is a picky eater, you are likely are concerned that they are not getting enough nutrition to feed their growing bodies or perhaps it is affecting your family or social outings with peers who eat a variety of foods.

We are here to help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is highly effective at helping children expand their food options. Even if your child is not willing to participate in therapy because they do not see it as a problem, we can meet with you as their parent to determine how serious the problem is and give you advice on how to proceed.

Child Weight Loss

If you are concerned about your child’s weight, but do not know what to do or how to address this issue, you have come to the right place. We specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy for weight loss in children. Given that children are vulnerable to body image problems during this age, we approach this topic from the aspect of healthy lifestyle changes rather than weight loss. It is so important that you get help for your child now rather than wait until the teen years when they may be more resistant to working with a therapist. Early intervention is key to long-term success.

Our behavioral psychologists have helped hundreds of children make changes in their eating and exercise habits to be healthier, lose weight and keep it off. Children love coming to meet with their therapist weekly and are excited to report the positive lifestyle changes they (and other family members) are making. Sometimes families decide to come to family therapy to improve the overall lifestyle of all family members, so that the one child is not the target or focus of attention. Parents meet with the therapist to get advice on how to support their child’s efforts at home. Behavioral therapy is usually short-term and very effective.

Child Chronic Illness

If your child has a chronic health problem, you know the devastating effects it is had on your child’s daily life. Getting to school can be a challenge and the work piles up after too many days absent. A day can start out as a “good day” and two hours later, you are getting a call from the school to pick him/her up because they don’t feel well. Chronic pain and distress from migraines, stomach aches, asthma and diabetes are familiar to many children. The effects of these conditions can lead to parental exhaustion and despair, as well as childhood depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and social withdrawal. It saddens you as a parent to watch your child sit on the sidelines of sports they wish they could play or activities they wish they could do. They may miss birthday parties or can’t fully participate in the fun their peers are having, leading to further loneliness and isolation.

We have worked with many children who have chronic health conditions over the years. Our doctors have received advanced specialized training in pediatric psychology at University of Florida/Shands Hospital, one the leading medical centers for childhood pain disorders. As a result, we are able to bring the most effective and advanced psychological treatments to your child. Through treatment using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness techniques, we have watched many children grow to live happy, well-balanced lives. Individual psychotherapy is a necessary component to give you and your child the support you need from professionals like us who understand your struggles. We will teach you and your child effective strategies to manage pain, depression and anxiety. We will help your child to live the life they deserve.

Child Migraines

As a parent of a child living with migraines, you know the struggle well. It is so hard to see your child continuously suffer with seemingly no end in sight. Migraines often come on suddenly and interrupt their daily functioning. Pain medications are only minimally effective at times and you hate to give your child narcotics to manage their pain in fear of addiction. Children living with migraines often experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, social withdrawal and school difficulties due to chronic pain.

There are many children with chronic migraines who live happy, well-balanced lives. Individual psychotherapy is a necessary component to give you and your child the support you need from people like us who understand your struggles. Our doctors have received advanced specialized training in medical psychology at University of Florida/Shands Hospital, one the leading medical centers for pain disorders. We use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and mindfullness techniques to teach you and your child effective strategies to manage his/her migraine pain and associated depression and anxiety. We will help your child to live the life they deserve.

Child Diabetes

Diabetes treatment is provided by a team of healthcare professionals that consists of a physician, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian and psychologist. We have psychologists who specialize in children with diabetes to provide children with help and support in making lifestyle changes necessary to adhere to their diabetes regimen. We will work with you and your child to hold them accountable to following their meal plans, administering insulin, recording blood glucose and sticking to a regular exercise plan.

There are many children with diabetes who live happy, well-balanced lives. Individual psychotherapy is a necessary component to give you and your child the support they need from people like us who understand their struggles. Our doctors have received advanced specialized training in diabetes management at University of Florida/Shands Hospital, one the leading medical centers for medical psychology. We use Cognitive-Behavioral techniques to teach your child effective strategies to manage their diabetes and cope effectively with their condition. We will help your child to live the life they deserve without diabetes taking control. We will also help you to effectively work with your child to improve their compliance with their diabetes management with less fighting and resistance.

Child Asthma

As you know, seeing your child struggle with asthma is very difficult. Asthma attacks often come on suddenly and interrupt their daily functioning. They are unable to participate in sports activities they enjoy and, over time, studies show that living with asthma can lead to depression.

There are many children with asthma who live happy, well-balanced lives. Individual psychotherapy is a necessary component to give your child the support they need from people like us who understand their struggles. Our doctors have received advanced specialized training in medical psychology at University of Florida/Shands Hospital, one of the leading medical centers for medical psychology. We use Cognitive-Behavioral and mindfulness therapy techniques to teach your child effective strategies to manage their condition, as well as the associated depression and anxiety. We will help your child live the life they deserve.

 

Behavioral and Other Concerns in Which We Offer Parenting Help

Child Autism

We work with children with high functioning autism and related social, emotional and behavior difficulties often referred to as “on the spectrum”. In order to determine if our level of intervention is appropriate for your child, it is best to schedule an initial consultation appointment with one of our specialists. If we can help, we will outline our treatment plan which is based on behavioral therapy and parent coaching techniques. If the level of service we can provide is not a good fit for your child, we will connect you with more intensive treatment facilities using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which often requires 10 -15 hours of weekly training sessions.

Strong-Willed Children

Raising a strong-willed child is extremely challenging and exhausting. When every little thing can turn into a drawn-out battle or meltdown, it can be difficult to get through the day. Your child may have difficulties with transitions, accepting the word “no” or being told what to do. Often times, strong-willed children behave well in school or in other places but seem to come unglued once they get home. The constant battles and meltdowns leave you and other family members to feel as if you are “walking on eggshells”, trying to avoid setting off a tantrum. Your strong-willed child seems to set the tone of the entire family, siblings become frustrated or, worse yet, copy their problematic behavior. Fights emerge more often between you and your partner when each of you are trying different approaches to get control of your child’s behavior, none of which seem to be effective. You may feel isolated and alone when you see other well-behaved children or notice comments or stares from other people who seem to be critical of you as a parent. You imagined that you would be the type of parent who ignores some of the bad behavior or words that come out of your child’s mouth to avoid yet another battle. We have specialized in working with strong-willed children for many decades and teach parents up-to-date specific strategies that lead to more well-behaved children and happier parents.

See Our Parenting Webinar

See Our Behavioral Testing Services

Potty Training

Potty-training is our speciality! In fact, we love to work with parents to potty-train their children, because our behavioral techniques are well-established and proven to work. It is so exciting to see quick results when parents have been struggling for so long. If you need your child potty-trained to enter preschool or if you are just ready to be out of diapers, we are here to help! The first step is to schedule an initial parent consultation meeting where we will ask you a series of questions to determine the best approach for you and your child.

Child Sleep Difficulties

If your child is struggling with getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking up in the morning, we can help. Our specialists in sleep hygiene using Behavioral Therapy techniques will help your child get to sleep and stay asleep in no time. The first step is to schedule an initial parent consultation meeting where we will ask you a series of questions to determine the best approach for you and your child.

Thumb Sucking

We love to work with parents to help their child stop sucking their thumb, primarily because our techniques are proven to work. Thumb-sucking is an addictive behavior that helps calm children down and reduces anxiety. By using the addiction model to treatment along with behavioral therapy, we see results quickly. The first step is to schedule an initial parent consultation meeting where we will ask you a series of questions to determine the best approach for you and your child.

Video Game Addiction

If your child seems to be obsessed with playing video games and becomes angry, agitated or depressed they are not allowed to play, your child may have a video game addition. The word addiction is often associated with substances such as alcohol or drugs, but addiction can be in the form of behaviors as well, such as playing video games. Research shows that there may be a biological/physical component of compulsive gaming in that it may increase dopamine levels in the brain. There is also the psychological component of video game addition in that it allows children to escape and feel good about life.

As a parent, you may not even fully understand what they are playing. You hear names like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Minecraft, Dota 2, or League of Legends, but you have no idea how violent, sexually explicit or dangerous the content is on your child’s developing brain. Multi-player games add a whole new dimension. As a parent, you have no idea who your child’s “friends” are because they only exist in the cyber world. Yet, they communicate with each other using explicit language that you would never allow their friends to say if physically present in your home.

Video game addiction is on the rise and doctors are now just beginning to recognize it as a serious addiction that can contribute to school difficulties, sleep disruption, relationship struggles and depression. You already know the effects it has had on your relationship with your child, as you face the daily struggle of limiting his/her gaming time.

The first step is to schedule an individual private consultation appointment with one of our addiction experts. We will be able to tell if your child is showing signs of an addiction in need of treatment. We will also help you to understand the games that your child is playing and if they are appropriate for your child and their developmental level. We will work with your child to address the psychological addiction and help you as a parent know exactly what to do on a daily basis to help the situation improve and get your child back into real life.

See Our Behavioral Testing Services

Parental Divorce

If you are going through a separation or divorce, your main concern is likely, “How is this going to affect my child(ren)?” In fact, maybe this is why you stayed in the marriage as long as you have. Protecting your child(ren) is the highest priority, but you may not know how to do this effectively.

You are not alone and we are here to help. We have working with children to help them get through the separation or divorce of their parents for over 25 years. By working directly with your child, they learn that their therapist is not on “Dad’s side” or “Mom’s side” and that they are truly right in the middle with them. We do not do custody evaluations or provide information to attorneys or courts. We feel that by keeping ourselves out of the legal system, we are better able to work with your child completely confidentially without the fear that what your child says to us in confidence may be exposed in open court. Through this approach, we find that your child will grow to learn and trust their therapist to help them get through this difficult time.

 

Common Types of Child School Problems We Treat

Child School Refusal

If your child is refusing to go to school, there may be an underlying reason such as a learning disability, bullying or problems with a teacher. Your child, who was once happy and eager to go to school, has become increasingly frustrated, defiant and oppositional. It begins to negatively affect your relationship with your child because you are constantly in the role of “school enforcer” and they grow to resent you.

We know your struggle and we can help you and your child. Going to school is the law, so you need a plan for how to get them there willingly to avoid being accused of parental neglect and getting into legal trouble. We have been working with children who refuse to go to school in every grade for over 25 years. We have developed a comprehensive intervention approach that really works to get them back to school. The sooner we get this plan in place, the better. Do not wait to schedule an initial consultation appointment so that we can discuss your situation and begin to develop your road map of success.

See Our Behavioral Testing Services

Child ADHD

ADHD is one of the most over-diagnosed and misunderstood conditions in children. Please do not rely on questionnaires administered by your physician or school personnel. Many symptoms of ADHD such as distractibility, hyperactivity, disorganization, absentmindedness or forgetfulness can actually be symptoms of another disorder such as a learning disability, anxiety or depression. We conduct comprehensive evaluations in order to make sure that these symptoms are actually the result of the neurological condition of ADHD.

See Our ADHD Testing Services

If your child has been properly diagnosed with ADHD, we can help you to know what to do next. Treatment for ADHD does not necessarily involve just medication or therapy. By meeting with one of our expert ADHD clinicians, we will work with you and your child to first teach you what pieces need to be in place and secondly how to get them in place. ADHD therapy involves working with you as the parent, with your child’s teachers, and with your child to collaboratively develop intervention plans so that your child will excel in school, improve their behavior and reach their highest potential.

 See Our ADHD Webinar

Child Social Problems

Many children struggle with socializing and making friends. They may find it hard to know what to say and find that it is easier to avoid interacting with peers or stand on the sidelines as a silent observer. Your child watches other children laughing, telling jokes and coming up with the perfect punch line to draw in people’s attention, but when they try to contribute to the conversation, their comments may be ignored or perhaps not even heard.

Some children are born with weaknesses in the area of social communication which creates anxiety in social situations. The anxiety further shuts down an already weak system. Social skills training is very effective at targeting those weaknesses. In combination with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the anxiety component, your child will find socializing with others to be easier and more natural. They will make more friends and communication with adults will improve. Therapy is usually short-term and success happens rather quickly.

See Our Anxiety Treatment Services

Child Bullying

If your child is being bullied and your efforts to help them have not been successful, we are here to help. We have helped so many children over the years to become more empowered, strong and confident through our proven, established approaches to dealing with bullies.

Bullied children are a high risk for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-cutting and suicide. Please get help for your child before it is too late.

See Equine Assisted Therapy 

Child Friendship Difficulties

Many children struggle with making and keeping friends. It is hard to watch your child struggle with friendships and they may be getting their feelings hurt more often when they do not get invited to birthday parties or other social events.

Social skills training is very effective at helping children who struggle with friendships. In combination with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the anxiety component, your child will find socializing with others to be easier and more natural. Through learning conflict-management strategies specific to children, their relationships will improve and it will open the door to more opportunities to make new friends. Therapy is usually short-term and your child will experience success rather quickly.

See Equine Assisted Therapy 

Child Self Esteem

Low self-esteem/low self-confidence in children may be because of an underlying condition such as a learning disability or social skills weakness. If your child is engaging in behaviors such as bullying, excessive lying, giving up easily, cheating or stealing, he/she may be suffering from low self-esteem. Your child may be finding it difficult to have fun. Many children with low self-esteem who are not bullies end up in the role of a victim and present as excessively shy and timid.

As a parent, you likely have showered your child with love, care, praise and positive reinforcement and it may be confusing as to why your child is showing signs of low self-esteem/self-confidence. Perhaps their other parent or caretaker has taken more of an authoritative role to parenting and you wonder if this has caused your child to be insecure or act out in other ways. Your child may be struggling with friendships, underachieving at school, depression or anxiety.

Low self-esteem/self-confidence can lead to a host of problems during the teen years such as promiscuity, substance use, date rape and pregnancy. It is very important that you get help for your child now before it begins to affect even more aspects of his/her life. First, we will figure out if there is an underlying problem contributing to the low self-esteem/self-confidence and if there is, develop a plan to address it. Individual therapy, along with parent coaching in strategies to use at home to supplement treatment, is highly effective for improving a child’s self-esteem/self-confidence. With advances in treatment approaches using components of Cognitive-Behavioral, and interpersonal treatment, your child will feel better about themselves and his/her behavior will improve. Children love to come into our child-friendly office and enjoy the sessions with their therapist.

See Equine Assisted Therapy 


If you think that your child is suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, please do not hesitate to contact McCaskill Family Services today to schedule an initial consultation!
Outstanding Psychologists & Therapists
I highly recommend McCaskill Family Services as outstanding psychologists and therapists. I have found them to be both extremely knowledgeable and professional as well as warm and compassionate. They use a highly individualized and respectful approach to their assessments for learning disabilities, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, etc.. The detailed "roadmap" that they provide allows you to knowwith confidence how best to help your child reach their fullest potential. Christine J.