FAQ’s: Psychotherapy

How will I know if psychotherapy will work for me?

We believe that anyone can be a good candidate for psychotherapy. Everyone has something in their lives, whether it is a child, teen or adult, to deal with that may be difficult or getting in the way of fully being content. Psychotherapy helps the most when the client is ready to explore his or her concerns in an open manner within a trusting, safe environment.

Are children/teens seen alone or is the family included?

We see children and teens as part of a larger and very important system, the family. We start off by seeing the parents/guardians alone for the first session to gather information about the main concerns and background history. This sometimes may take more than one visit. Then, depending on the age of the child, we will spend a few sessions individually with the child and then have a parent-child or family session. This pattern of individual and family sessions will continue throughout therapy. Depending on the presenting problems, some children and teens are seen with their families more frequently.

How does therapy work with infants, toddlers or preschool children?

We work with infants, toddlers and preschool children in individual play therapy and parent-child therapy to address the various concerns such as tantrums, aggression, oppositionality/defiance, fears and separation anxiety. Parent Child Interaction Therapy is a commonly used approach when working with disruptive behaviors in young children.

What is Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)?

PCIT is an intervention designed for children between the age of 2 and 8 years of age who have disruptive behaviors problems. PCIT incorporates both parent and child within the treatment session and uses individualized parent coaching to address aspects of parent-child interactional patterns. PCIT is conducted in two phases, with an initial focus on enhancement of the parent-child relationship and then on improving child compliance. This treatment approach is effective in improving parenting skills, decreasing child behavioral problems and strengthening the relationship between parent and child.

What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is a one type of therapeutic play. According to the Play Therapy International Organization (PTI), the first recorded therapeutic play occurred in 1919 and play therapy was based on the seminal work of Virginia Axline and Violet Oaklander. Children ages 3-11 would benefit most from play therapy, as this is their natural language of creative expression. Play therapy incorporates many different creative outlets including: art, music, dance, movement, puppets/masks, clay, and sand tray. Additional techniques used by play therapists include incorporating drama (role plays), creative visualization, and therapeutic story-telling. In sum, play therapy is an engaging form of therapy that provides an alternate outlet for children to process difficult emotions and experience healing and improved psychological functioning.

 What is Sandplay?

Sandplay is a cross-cultural, nonverbal, and hands-on therapeutic modality for both children and adults. It was originally developed by Swiss Jungian Analyst Dora M. Kalff in the 1950’s and was based on tenets of C.G. Jung that focused on the natural wisdom inherent in our unconscious and the development of the Self. In Sandplay, the client is encouraged to select miniature figures, toys, and objects and place them in the sand independently. Afterward, they can add water to the sand if they choose. According to Kalff, whose work led to the Sandplay Therapists of America, the therapist does not interpret or intervene but acts as a ‘silent witness’ to this process. The items placed in the sand represent ‘archetypal symbols from the unconscious’ according to Carl Jung. This form of play allows individuals to process difficult emotions or internal struggles at a pace that is comfortable for them. Client’s create visual images with these figures which can help connect the unconscious struggles of their inner world with conscious healing in a protected space. Sandplay has positive implications for disaster relief and trauma, which is especially relevant during this time.

What is Sand Tray Therapy?

Sand Tray therapy is a different type of Sandplay which combines play therapy and art therapy. It can also be used alongside other therapeutic modalities such as humanistic therapy (Dr. Steve Armstrong, 2012) which provides the opportunity for the verbal and nonverbal therapeutic process to unfold. Although Sand Tray, like Sandplay involves a Sand Tray and figures, it is more interactive with the therapist often playing a more direct role in the session. Both modalities can be a useful tool for clients to process issues of identity, anxiety, grief, divorce, depression, psycho-somatic symptoms, perfectionism, and even the inability to express feelings. Sand Tray allows the client to use the four corners of the Sand Tray as a way to contain their feelings in a safe space. In this modality, the therapist and client may discuss what toys are selected, the positions of the figures, and potential symbolism, as clinically indicated. After this discussion, clients may change or alter their Sand Tray designs, which represents the interactive nature of this modality. In sum, Sand Tray and Sandplay are both engaging and relaxing therapeutic modalities that allows clients to gain insight while also having fun!

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps clients to understand how their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected and can influence one another. CBT is commonly used to treat anxiety and depression as well as other problem areas. I use CBT techniques in my practice, when appropriate, along with other approaches, to treat anxiety and depression in children, teens and adults. Once the main symptoms subside, we can often turn our attention to other concerns and issues that might have taken a back seat to the anxiety and depression.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?


DBT is another type of psychotherapy that also focuses on understanding the connection between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Unlike CBT however, DBT techniques devote special attention to interpersonal problems and unstable emotions. Specifically, DBT is most helpful for clients struggling with volatile relationships, low self-esteem, impulsive behavior, and unpredictable moods. It can also be very useful for those that struggle with suicidal thoughts, substance use, and self-harming. DBT can be applied in a structured or more informal way to meet the needs of the client. Some of our therapists are trained in DBT approaches, and able to provide clients with practical skills and strategies to remain mindful, effectively manage feelings, and have enjoyable social lives.


How long are the sessions?

Sessions are typically 45 minutes in length but can be coordinated to be longer when working with couples or families depending on the issues at hand. EMDR sessions can be coordinated to last 45 or 90 minutes, depending on individual needs.

How frequent are the sessions?

Sessions are usually held once weekly unless a higher or lesser frequency is more appropriate to reach stability or maintain gains.

What are the Covid-19 precautions for in person sessions?

The team at Evolve Psychological Services are maintaining certain precautions for the safety of our clients and team. Clients are asked to wear masks during the entirety of their visit to the office, including time spent in the waiting room. Information about the full spectrum of Covid-19 precautions for in-person visits, please see our Evolve Informed Consent for In-Person Services During Covid-19.