No matter how much caregivers try to protect their children, there are many stressors they may experience that are difficult to cope with or understand. This can affect their functioning in all areas of life (home, school, friends, etc.) and can display itself in numerous ways, including self-esteem issues, poor academic achievement, angry/aggressive outbursts, depression, anxiety, isolation, eating issues, and poor self-care. With years of experience and specialized training, DSA clinicians utilize a combination of play therapy, art therapy, and talk therapy, along with family sessions and parent training to assist each child in healing and the attainment of healthy skills to utilize throughout their development.
Being an adult means balancing many roles and managing numerous stressors personally and professionally. At times, it may feel like familiar coping skills stop being effective, which can make even the strongest person start having emotional reactions and unhealthy behaviors that may intensify if the underlying issues aren’t addressed. DSA clinicians collaborate with adult clients by establishing realistic goals, examining past and present obstacles in their lives, and utilizing problem solving skills to successfully overcome them. Each treatment plan is tailored to meet the adult client’s unique needs and works towards developing the skills that will allow the individual to perform at their optimal level of overall wellness in all areas of life.
The journey from childhood to becoming a young adult is full of many developmental challenges, which makes the teenage years some of the most difficult times in a person’s life. The need for independence increases along with an influx of hormones, yet many adolescents do not know how to tap into their strengths and resources effectively so that they can manage their strong emotions, desires, and stress in an effective way. Having worked with teenagers for years in multiple settings, Dr. Shantelle and her clinicians have developed an ability to engage with adolescents and help them develop the tools needed to overcome the obstacles that they are facing. Even if a teenager doesn’t seem to care or is resistant, we can typically help them work through this form of communication and find a way to help them feel safe and heard. Each clinician works with each adolescent to identify their strengths, explore and accept their uniqueness, and learn tools and techniques to manage their strong emotions and the challenges that they will encounter during their journey towards young adulthood.
Families are unique systems composed of different personalities and dynamics that face a variety of challenges and transitions. DSA clinicians work with all members of the family to help them adjust, transition or work through presenting difficulties. This includes blending families, divorce, trauma, loss, and new family members. Utilizing many different techniques, your family will work on learning effective ways to communicate, healing past emotional wounds, and developing relational dynamics and boundaries that will ultimately lead to a healthier and happier family unit.
Relationships can be a source of comfort, joy, and companionship; however, they can also be stressful and full of conflict and pain. Many people do not grow up in a household that prepares them to establish and maintain a healthy and loving partnership. If you or your partner are struggling to handle different situations or are feeling chronically disconnected, you may want to consider couples therapy. Working with a professional can be a really important step in your relationship and can show how much you are invested and care about one another. At DSA, our clinicians work with each couple to understand the unique dynamics within the relationship and help them to develop different tools to assist in the development of open communication, connection, and understanding. No matter what state your relationship is in, we will help you and your partner to figure out what is needed within the relationship for healing and growth and what goals that you have for the future.
More than ever, people are feeling isolated, disconnected and misunderstood. Particularly when struggling with a mental illness or addiction, it can feel like no one understands what you are going through and that you are alone in your pain. This common experience is why group therapy can be so effective, as it provides a space for those struggling in similar ways to receive support from peers who not only care but truly understand due to having similar experiences. DSA offers several groups throughout the year that are tailored for different age groups and issues.
Being a parent is a very challenging job. There is no rulebook or instruction manual and each child has unique needs that grow and change throughout their phases of life. Although parenting can be incredibly rewarding, it also can be full of frustration and confusion when strategies that used to be effective suddenly stop working. When consulting with parents, DSA clinicians reference years of experience and knowledge of developmental stages combined with information from parents about their child’s unique personality to develop additional strategies to utilize when facing challenging parenting situations. These strategies are focused on decreasing the child’s negative behaviors while increasing communication and connection within the parent-child relationship
Sport Performance Enhancement
Athletes, musicians, and business professionals of all ages and all levels perform better when they remove the blocks between themselves and their peak performance. These blocks can include: anxiety, lack of focus, unclear goals, challenging experiences, poor stress management, and low motivation. DSA clinicians will help you identify and effectively overcome each of your unique barriers through the teaching of different mental skills and use of therapeutic interventions, ultimately focusing on helping you to reach your full potential in all areas of your life
Other performance-related issues such as trauma from injury, time management, and stress management can also be addressed throughout treatment, with possible transition to a more general therapy model should issues extend beyond the performance realm. Our sports performance consultants offer individual coaching, group/team coaching, and workshops on a variety of topics related to performance. For more information, you can contact Dr. Shantelle via the CONTACT FORM or intake number on the Contact Page.
When your child has mental health and/or learning disabilities that are affecting their ability to learn and perform in school, it is hard to know what to do next. Although there are teachers that make the effort to help a struggling student, many do not have the time or know what is appropriate to provide. If your child has a diagnosed mental disorder or learning disability, they are legally entitled to be evaluated and receive accommodations through a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP). If your child has been denied this evaluation and/or the school is not following the established plan, consider hiring an educational advocate. Our educational advocates are fee-based professionals who will assist caregivers in understanding the rights and different accommodations to which their child is entitled. We will also attend IEP/504 Plan meetings to communicate these rights to the teachers/administrators to ensure that the accommodations delineated in the plan are appropriate and fully address the child’s needs.
College Planning Services
Applying for college is no easy feat. With the increasing number of students applying for limited spots at colleges, the soaring prices at both private and public institutions, and the virtual applications, parents, and students may feel confused and overwhelmed. At DSA, students and parents are helped to navigate the college application process in the following ways:
Establish a customized college timeline with important deadlines, tasks, and benchmarks.
• Brainstorm with students to determine college essay responses and provide guidance in this process. • Meet with students to provide feedback on essays for improvement after the student has determined their essay responses and developed their drafts
• Get to know the student’s career plans and help identify college majors to consider for their intended career path. • Provide students with an overview of factors to consider when selecting a college. •Assist students in making a list of various colleges that allows them to apply to their dream schools, while also considering the likelihood of admission
• Assist students with creating their resume, which is often a required component of admission and scholarship applications. •Conduct individualized research and provide suggestions of college scholarships based on the student’s academic and extracurricular profile, school, region, and college major. •Brainstorm a scholarship essay topic, review the essay or application, provide feedback, and answer student/parent questions.
College planning services cannot be billed through insurance and are billed at $200/hour. Individualized packages of different services are also offered. Contact Dr. Shantelle to discuss these options if you are interested.
Psychological Testing for ADHD
Dr. Shantelle and Associates offers evaluations for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). During the evaluation, one of our diagnosticians will gather pertinent information to determine if the criteria for ADHD are met based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). There are three types of ADHD:
Examples of this type of ADHD include having trouble paying attention; being easily distracted; disorganization; forgetfulness; and/or poor follow-through on instructions or tasks
This type has symptoms of both impulsivity and hyperactivity. Some examples of this include acting without thinking about the consequences; difficulty sitting still; fidgeting; difficulty waiting turns; always needing to move; and/or talking nonstop.
This is the most common type of ADHD and includes a combination of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness.
For an ADHD assessment, the diagnostician will gather pertinent history and presenting symptoms, review medical, psychological, or school/employment records, and conduct a variety of tests. Questionnaires, rating scales, intellectual screenings, and measures of sustained attention and distractibility are some possible measures that may be used during the assessment. Additionally, questionnaires, rating scales or interviews may be conducted with other people such as a teacher or daycare provider with proper consent.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Most of the time your body routinely manages new information and experiences without your awareness. However, when traumatized by an overwhelming event, disturbing experiences may remain frozen or unprocessed” in your brain. Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but the painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger or despair are continually triggered in the present. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can therefore become inhibited.
EMDR is a specialized treatment that creates connections in your memory networks, enabling your brain to process traumatic life experiences and heal from them in a very natural way. During treatment, the client very briefly focuses on a “snapshot” of the experience while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation, which leads to a reduction in vividness and emotional response associated with the experience. Backed by research, EMDR is recommended by the National Institute of Health as one of the most effective treatments for PTSD/trauma. It has also been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of anxiety/phobias, depression, and complex grief