RMPS: Specialists in Child and Adolescent Psychology


play therapy

“How does it work? Are you going to ask my child to lay on a couch and tell you their problems?”

At RMPS, our psychologists come from a variety of backgrounds and theoretical approaches including developmental, cognitive-behavioural, humanistic/person-centered, psychodynamic and family systems. In addition to our psychology training, our psychologists have specialized skill sets for working with children and adolescents. This is important because many generalist psychologists will try to apply theories and approaches that were initially created for adults with children and adolescents, often with limited success. Our psychologists need to not only have strong backgrounds in psychological theories, but they also need to know how to effectively apply their approaches with children and adolescents.

Want to know more about different theoretical approaches to therapy?

Our psychologists keep up with current research on topics such as child development, play therapy, attachment and trauma research, impact of parent/caregiver attachment on brain development, and effectiveness of various therapeutic approaches with children and adolescents.

How does the psychologist select the right approach for your child?

While each psychologist in our practice would be said to have his or her own theoretical preferences, all of our psychologists would be said to work from a generally integrative approach, tailored to the needs of the individual. At RMPS, we draw from the Play Therapy Dimensions Model ™ developed by Lorri Yasenik and Ken Gardner. Depending on the referral issue, the child’s temperament, the child’s needs and current presentation, the therapist will select the type of therapeutic approach(s) that seems to be the best fit.

Play therapy dimensions diagram

Some approaches emphasize direct discussion of the issues and specific strategies for the child to employ such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). This works well for children with high levels of conscious awareness, language skills, and cognitive reflection. Conversely, the child or adolescent may not have conscious awareness of the issue or ability to directly discuss the issue initially. For this child, effective processing of the issue can happen at an unconscious level with less direction from the psychologist. For example, the psychologist may use a Sandplay Therapy approach. Over time, and sometimes even within one session, the psychologist may also choose to work from different quadrants to meet the needs of the child and address treatment goals.

Parents and caregivers are welcome to ask the psychologist about the different approaches that are being used with their child.

Related Topics:

  • What is informed consent?
  • Can a child consent to therapy?
  • What is confidentiality? Are there times when a psychologist will not protect confidentiality? Do children have confidentiality in their therapeutic sessions?