COVID ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to COVID-19 I am currently seeing all patients via online / telehealth appointments. Learn more about online therapy for California residents.

Child Therapist San Diego, CA

Is your child struggling and you don’t know what to do?

Seeing a child therapist can improve your child’s struggles of today and build the foundational concepts for successful strategies in adulthood

Is your child experiencing difficulties in multiple areas of life; such as school, peers or their relationships? Does your child show or express excessive emotion over a previous or future event? Have you noticed that your child feels bad about themself to the point that they have become less confident or effective? Perhaps even hopeless, at times? Does your child have difficulty understanding and expressing their emotions in a productive manner? Have you noticed that they withdraw from family, friends or activities they once enjoyed? Is your child highly critical of themself or hold themself to standards that are seemingly – or by definition – impossible to achieve? Does your child struggle with self-esteem to the point they can’t fully feel good enough to anyone or in activities? These struggles can also have physical impacts if not addressed over time; such as muscle tension, headaches, poor sleeping patterns or bowel control, stomach aches, decreased/increased appetite, inattentiveness, and risky/careless behaviors/choices. This is important because the more a pattern repeats itself, the more momentum it gains and the harder it becomes to break and establish a more productive/healthy pattern.

It's not too late...

Small Girl Smiling After Child Counseling in San Diego, CA The most important thing to remind yourself is that it’s not too late, you’re not the only parent experiencing this, and your child isn’t the only one trying to navigate these struggles. Children are simply other human beings among us that have less experience, control and effective tools in their lives. Without these elements, it’s completely understandable for anyone to experience moodiness, stress, anxiety, depression, or struggles with school, peers or relationships! If you were to stop and think right now about how you effectively get through difficult times, I imagine it is due to your access to one or more of these elements. Luckily, children are also simultaneously resilient and at a developmental stage in life where they are soaking in information like no other time they will have in their life. So, even when children experience much larger difficulties that any age would struggle with, they have the ability to get through it and come out stronger and more capable than before. All they need is the right tools and support.

Why Do Most Parents Seek Therapy for Their Children?

Children typically experience one or more of these issues throughout their development and establish strategies that they believe produces the best results most easily. Over the course of their trial and error approaches, they eventually figure out an apparent solution or resist/accept their circumstances in numerous ways; depending on what they’ve learned from peers, adults, and personal experiences.

Seeing a Child Therapist Can Help!

Boy Looks Sad and Needs Help Through Child Therapy in San Diego, CA Child therapy teaches numerous perspectives, techniques, skills and strategies to lead to healthier and more productive self-soothing, problem-solving and emotional awareness/expression to avoid obstacles and achieve goals. Most importantly, child counseling and therapy intervenes at a time when problematic systems are being developed, as opposed to years later when patterns are further cemented and opportunities have already been impacted. During this crucial time in your child’s life, I will be there to provide the space and safety required to make real change. I will listen to their side of the story and consistently remind them that I am here for them and always on their side. In addition, I will make time for the child’s loved ones to assist, simplify and educate wherever needed so that your child can experience consistency and support in as many areas as possible. Simply put, if it benefits your child, I’m in!

Benefits of Effective Child Therapy Can Be:

Why Book a Children's Therapy Session with Me?

Spencer Chernick, LMFT - ADHD, Couples, Teens, Children - San Diego, CA 92109 I have worked with children and families for the entirety of my career in a variety of circumstances and treatment settings including school, community-based mental health care, and private practice. Additionally, I very much remember the trials and tribulations of my youth, as well as how important and devastating things could be. I am also well-versed in various types of play therapy that allow sessions to continue to flow; even when talking is difficult. I have successfully helped many children and their families process significant events and overcome obstacles through improving self-worth, emotional awareness, emotional expression, problem-solving, and overall perspective of their circumstances and options.

I have always connected with children and found it very easy to interact and have patience with them. Not only because I adore them, but because I feel like I understand them in ways many adults don’t. To this day, I am affectionately described by those closest to me as “a big kid” and have made the same impression on the hundreds of children I have worked with throughout my career. In addition to the many “adult” things I do in my life, I also enjoy music, sports, superheros, video games, adventure, and being silly and playful whenever possible. Furthermore, most of the hardships I’ve experienced in my life occurred in my younger years, so I also personally understand what it means to overcome difficult times at a young age. I find this creates a very specific and special bubble of trust and safety because, as a result, I am often viewed as an adult they can trust and as a peer with whom they can relax. I will use this unique relationship to relate and empathize with their struggles, so that they can feel more confident and better trust approaches that I have found to be effective and helpful.

Are you ready to help your child feel better and overcome obstacles?

Contact me today to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation and see if child therapy is right for your child!

Prefer a longer session time? Just ask for details!

I do not accept insurance but I do offer Superbills that can be presented to insurance companies for reimbursement. Learn more about my rates and insurance.

Here are some typical questions regarding child counseling and therapy...

Children and families often find immediate improvement because they’ve learned techniques that they didn’t know before. That excitement can be very motivating and euphoric, and result in the most important element of therapy; consistency.

That’s a great question! Therapists and psychiatrists have different roles and serve different purposes. People visit a psychiatrist when they are looking to get evaluated for potential psychiatric medications. People see a therapist when they are looking to process emotions, work through a difficult time, identify/improve patterns that create obstacles, or any other reason emotional work would be beneficial. So to answer your question, both can be helpful but for different reasons. I always recommend starting with a therapist and, together, assess from there whether a psychiatrist referral is necessary.

This is a very common question for an even more common experience. Without knowing the specifics, what I can say is that there is a need (or STRONG want) that is perceived as not being met and they don’t know what to do or how to communicate it. This need / “strong want” can be anywhere from literal to symbolic, and can be due to isolated or patterns of events. Child counseling and therapy can help your child find the words and solutions needed to effectively manage their anger and frustration and have a positive mindset moving forward.

Although there is no all-encompassing answer to this question, common instances where parents seek child counseling and therapy is when their child is struggling with…

  • Low self-esteem
  • Regular nightmares
  • An inability to concentrate, think clearly, or make decisions
  • An inability to sit still
  • A sudden, unexplained drop in grades at school
  • A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Regular conflict with peers and/or support figures
  • Changes in patterns of sleeping or eating
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Constant anger or sadness, and a tendency to overreact to situations
  • Persistent worry, anxiety, or fearfulness
  • Preoccupation with physical illness or their own appearance
  • Reclusiveness, preferring to be alone rather than in the company of friends or family
  • And more…

However, in all honesty, I believe this question is best answered with another question: could your child benefit from additional support with regard to a specific pattern, event, or circumstance in their life? If you’re still not sure, you can always contact me for a free 15 minute consultation and to see if I am the right therapist for your child!

Yes! Child counseling and therapy is highly effective during these developmental years, and is accomplished via a combination of talking and engaging in fun activities. In fact, it can be easily argued that child counseling and therapy provides effective strategies that will set the foundation of how your child addresses difficult times for the rest of their life! Especially considering that most children enter the school phase at age 5, it provides the perfect opportunity for the strong start that they could greatly benefit from as they begin navigating so many new elements at once.

What to Expect in a Session With a Children's Therapist?

Boy Has Breakthrough at Children's Therapy Session in San Diego, CA A children’s therapist can help your child understand why certain patterns exist in their life and the control they may not have been aware they had. Additionally, a child therapist is someone that is not connected to their inner world and, therefore, is unbiased and without judgement. This becomes incredibly important during times of repetitive struggles and “falling off the horse”; so to speak. Where someone in their inner world might express emotions that could interfere with a child’s ability to be receptive and effectively move forward, a child therapist has the ability to provide support, patience and guidance; while remaining neutral.

Approaches I Use in Child Therapy

Positive Therapy

Positive Therapy is a relatively new therapeutic approach, influenced by both the humanistic and psychodynamic approaches towards diagnosis and treatment. Its core focus is on moving away from what’s ‘wrong’ or the negative aspects of an individual, and instead move towards what’s good and positive; which promotes solution-focused problem-solving, increased confidence and self-esteem, and a positive mindset… all of which play a huge role during childhood development!

Mindfulness Therapy Practices

Engaging in mindfulness practices assists in calming down the nervous system and decreasing the impulsivity, restlessness, and struggles with memory and focus that are so often experienced by children with ADHD, or its symptoms. However, what I love most of all about mindfulness practices is how easily and seamlessly they can be incorporated into our lives. Although mindfulness is often associated with specific approaches, such as yoga, mindfulness can be as simple as focusing on your breathing; or what you are eating.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic modality that focuses on the cause and effect patterns we fall into and the power of mindset. Through increased awareness of the negative thinking patterns and factors that influence our less-desired behaviors, CBT provides the tools necessary to effectively break the patterns that put us in our own way and develop productive patterns to put us back in the driver’s seat.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a therapeutic modality that focuses on solutions and what has worked in the past. Instead of examining negative patterns or identifying “problems”, SFBT promotes solution-oriented and positive thinking that is so beneficial for the decreased self-esteem and repeated frustrations that are so often experienced throughout childhood.

Child Therapist in San Diego, CA

If you and your child are ready to overcome the obstacles that leave them feeling frustrated and stuck, and want to learn more about my child therapy services, please use the button above or call (858) 634-0502 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

Spencer Chernick, LMFT
ADHD, Teen & Couples Therapy
5330 Carroll Canyon Rd Suite 120,
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 634-0502