The Center for Attachment, Adoption, & Trauma Support for Families
Adopted children suffer from early attachment loss and often have a history of trauma. The memories of these adverse childhood events can get trapped in the emotional side of the child's brain and can negatively impact behavior and emotions. These behaviors can be very challenging for families and often leave parents feeling hopeless and helpless. Heidi is here to offer you HOPE!
The relationship trauma that adopted children experience is developmental. As the child grows and moves into various developmental milestones or life changes, they will re-process their histories. Often it is helpful for adoptive families to have a therapist available to help navigate these life changes and times of stress.
I work with adoptive families regardless if they have been home a few weeks or many years. However, I truly believe that if we can intervene early then the results will be life changing and impactful. Teaching connected/relationship based parenting is a passion of mine. Often, I work with parents alone either before I meet with the child or simultaneously.
Attachment and Bonding
I feel that it is within healthy relationships that true healing can be found. As your therapist, my goal is to help foster and enhance the relationship between parent/caregiver and the child. I see my role as the helper, coach, and facilitator in this process. Helping children to feel safe, seen, and soothed at home by their primary caregivers is crucial to their healing. Once the child has a strong sense of felt safety at home, THEN they will start to feel safe out in the world. As this sense of felt safety evolves and grows, then a change in behavior is often seen. The journey of felt safety and attachment is an on-going process and constantly evolving. It is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. I am here of offer you HOPE on this journey.
Early Childhood Trauma
Traumatic events such as abuse and neglect are often referred to as"big T trauma" and their effect on children is often easy to notice. However, children can suffer from other adverse childhood events, commonly referred to as "little t trauma," that can have a significant impact on them. These events can include, but not limited too, things such as bullying, death of a loved one, divorce, natural disasters, accidents, dog bites, medical procedures, dental work, etc. It is hard to imagine, but pre-verbal trauma can get "stuck" in a child's brain and can have a significant negative impact on the child. When the brain is triggered and remembers these events, the child may show you challenging behaviors. These children can suffer from deep feelings of rejection, abandonment, hurt, mistrust, fear, and shame.
As a pediatric nurse, I have a special interest in working with children who have suffered medical trauma. An event such as a lab draw may seem like "no big deal" to many but can be very impactful for the child. Whether your child is suffering from a chronic and/or life threatening illness or an acute illness or procedure, I can offer you HOPE. I use an attachment based approach as well as EMDR to help children heal from these traumatic life events. Often, children can find healing in a few sessions with this technique.
Parents/Caregivers & Couples
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Parenting a child from a hard place is even harder. Parents and caregivers need support. When I work with your child and family, I assure you that I will care for you as well. I will be by your side to help you through these hard times. I will coach you, cheer you on, and lend an empathic ear. Many adoptive parents feel that this journey is heartbreaking, lonely, and isolating. I assure you that you are not alone.
In addition, parenting a child from a hard place can take its toll on a marriage and relationship. Parenting these children requires a special type of parenting and often couples find themselves struggling. As a marriage and family therapist, I can help you to find the joy within your relationship again.
Adoptive Parent Coaching
For families that live outside the Kansas City area, I offer virtual adoptive parent coaching. It is important to know that coaching is not a substitute for nor is it psychotherapy. As a coach, I do not provide any diagnosis, mental health assessments, or treatment of mental health issues. However, I can coach you through challenging behaviors and offer support as a mentor. In addition, I can point you to resources that will be helpful in your parenting. I also have a passion for coaching parents of children with medical needs. I can help you navigate the medical system, find your voice and support you in your advocacy.
For those adopting internationally, I offer concierge coaching. We will have a few coaching sessions before you travel and I will be on call 24/7 for you while you are in country in case you find yourself in a situation needing support.
Please contact me for pricing and package details.