Monica AustinLicensed Marital and Family Therapist My passion is to help couples, families and individuals maneuver through the storms of life and embrace the process. Are you experiencing difficulties in your marriage, other relationships, struggling with depression, anxiety or asking what planet your teenager is from? You are not alone, almost everyone will have to deal with one or more of these types of challenges at some point in their life. Read more Monica Austin
Rebel BuersmeyerLicensed Marital and Family Therapist
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counseor
Do you desire a better life, do you hope for a healthier future? Change is possible! I hope to partner with you to enable you to heal your past, live your present, and embrace your future. You will find that I use an integrated approach to treatment which means treating the whole person, not just the symptom. In working with my clients, I assess psychological, biological and social factors that may be contributing to the presenting problems. My mission is to empower families, couples, and individuals to become proactive in facilitating a healthy productive life. Read more Rebel Buersmeyer
Amanda BrandonLicensed Professional Counselor
EMDR Trained
Have you found yourself stuck, not knowing which way to turn or how you will make it through? It is my hope for you and our time together that you gain insight to behaviors and patterns in your life and come to identify your strengths and use them to overcome these challenges. You can develop the skills and tools necessary to manage these and other life challenges. Child therapy, family therapy, and individual therapy can help. Read more Amanda Brandon
Joshua NicholsLicensed Marital and Family Therapist
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist
I have a passion for helping build and strengthen marital and parent-child relationships as well as helping individuals with personal growth. My expertise cover a wide-array of mental health and relational issues. Read more Joshua Nichols
Ben ThompsonLicensed Marital and Family Therapist I want to help you change. My approach involves working with you to figure out the old patterns and habits keeping you unhappy and unfulfilled, and then helping you change them so you can live the life and have the relationships you want. In each session we will also utilize drawing as a means to helping you see the change you desire. My goals are to help you change, create with you new patterns for happier, healthier living, and help you feel more alive. Read more Ben Thompson
Nancy SolizLicensed Marital and Family Therapist
Registered Play Therapist
As a play therapist, I believe that play can be used to help families and children find solutions. Play is our first language. Play can build trust, regulate emotions, and help us express thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain hidden. And as a marital and family therapist, I believe that play therapy works best when parents/caregivers and families are actively involved in the treatment process. I want to work with your child and family to help you reconnect. Read more Nancy Soliz
Lauren ThompsonLicensed Professional Counselor I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who enjoys working with individuals, families, children and adolescents. Asking for help can be overwhelming and difficult, but it shows great strength and determination. I believe that counseling is a collaborative process between therapist and client; and that each client is different and unique. Read more Lauren Thompson
Carrie KygerLicensed Marital & Family Therapist
LMFT Clinical Supervisior
Many people find themselves struggling with love, family members, parenting, depression, anxiety or difficult events at one time in their life. You do not have to struggle or wander alone. Couple's counseling, marriage therapy, family therapy or individual therapy can help. Investing time and attention in your health, marriages, couple relationships, parent child relationships and other close relationships is often the best way to manage stress, depression, anxiety or conflict. Read more Carrie Kyger
Heather WarfieldLicensed Marital & Family Therapy Candidate I am passionate about helping people build insight, skills, and confidence in order to promote positive relationships, achieve goals, and meet their full potential in life. In order to do this, I find it essential to create a safe environment to explore presenting issues as well as the histories, events, and relationships that created and continue such hardships. As a therapist, I see my role as an advocate and coach in assisting each person, couple, and family through their unique journey of growth and change. Read more Heather Warfield
Gabe YandellLicensed Marital & Family Therapist Today, you can begin a different path in relationships with others and with yourself. No person exists outside of relationships and every relationship has flaws. In some way, we are shaped every day by our view of ourselves and by those around us. I am here to empower you to be the person you want to be. Depression, anxiety, shame, resentment, and other issues all can be addressed through gaining understanding and self-expression. Read more Gabe Yandell

Helping Children Cope with Grief during the Holidays

The holiday season can be a time of joy, excitement, and anticipation as the weather turns cold and preparations begin for various celebrations. Our thoughts turn to our families, friends, faith, and even to our favorite holiday treats. It seems as if everywhere we go during this time of year there is a constant reminder of the season. While for many people this is a welcomed event, full of good memories and hopeful wishes for the coming year, for others it can be a painful reminder of those who will not be gathered to share in the holiday celebration.

Whether this is the first time a loved one is no longer with us, or the twentieth, grief can be a complex and ever-changing experience. This sentiment is especially true for children, who tend to experience grief very differently than the adults in their lives.

Child Development and the Grieving Process.

Infancy. Children’s’ grief experiences cover a large range of developmental abilities. As early as infancy, babies can sense a loss in their lives, but may not be able to express grief through speech or working memories. In these situations, infants and toddlers can experience the death and show distress by having difficulty sleeping, clinginess, and/or temper tantrums. Helping a child so young with a loss can include repeated reassurance that they are safe, while also providing a consistent, predictable daily routine.

Whether this is the first time a loved one is no longer with us, or the twentieth, grief can be a complex and ever-changing experience.

Preschool age. As children grow into their preschool years, death is seen as temporary or reversible. The preschool child may ask repeated questions to really grasp what has happened to their loved one. They may regress in areas where they had no trouble previously, such as with toilet training or returning to a security blanket. During this time, it is best to give the preschool child simple, honest explanations of death; and prepare yourself for frequent repetition of questions and comments. Also, allow for some regression as the child is dealing with the loss.

Late childhood. In the later childhood years, some children may still see death as reversible or temporary. Other children might view death as a punishment for something they did or did not do. The child may show overt signs of grief, such as sadness or anger, develop physical complaints, or even start to exhibit behavioral problems as a response to the loss. At this age, one should continue to give honest explanations of death while avoiding euphemisms such as the person is “asleep” or “gone”. Assure the child that it is okay to grieve and give the child opportunities to express a range of feelings.

Adolescents. As the teenage years approach, death is seen as irreversible, and can be truly conceptualized. A teenager may respond to the death with depression, denial, or repression. Due to their developmental needs, teenagers may seek out the comfort of peers before family. It may be hard for family members to understand why the teenager is withdrawing from the family, especially if the death involved a family member. Give the teenager some space and encourage open dialogue. Listen to what your teenager expresses to you about the loss.

Tips for Helping a Child Understand and Process Death

While keeping the child’s developmental needs in mind, some additional suggestions for helping a child with grief include:

  • Create a safe place to talk about the loss. Although repeated questions can be difficult to hear, particularly in a situation in which the adult in the child’s life is also grieving, try to create an environment that encourages open discussion and expression of feelings. If the child is constantly consumed with the topic, the safe adult could suggest a special time and place where they could discuss the death.
  • Uphold or postpone traditions. Instead of avoiding traditions that may remind you of the person who died, the child may want to embrace them. During the holiday season, this can be especially true. Talk with the child and see if they would like to build a gingerbread house like they used to do with grandma or go look at the lights like they would do with their uncle. Be prepared for the child to respond in different ways. For example, a child may not want to the first year after the death, but may want to uphold the holiday traditions the next year.
  • Embrace their feelings. Death brings complicated feelings for children to delve into, including anger, sadness, and confusion. These may be feelings that the child has never experienced before in such great intensity. Allow the child to feel the feelings and do not feel as if you have to ‘fix’ it for them. Sometimes, just being a listening ear can help the child work through these complicated emotions.

About Complex Grief

Unexpected death, such as the loss of a sibling or a parent, can be complex and difficult to handle. However, not all losses result from the death of a loved one. Experiences such as divorce, foster care, or even a move can cause a child to experience signs of loss. Loss and death can be complex and the adults in the child’s life may have difficulty in responding to their child’s grief. If your child is experiencing more complex grief, you may need to seek out the additional help of a therapist. Therapists, including myself, work with both children and caregivers in addressing grief and loss. For more information, or to set up an appointment to talk with me, please contact me at your convenience.

- Nancy

Nancy Soliz

  • Licensed Marital and Family Therapist
  • Registered Play Therapist

 

It is the policy of Family Solutions to treat all clients and not to discriminate with regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.

 

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