Hi I’m Julie! I’m a licensed clinical social worker but you might also call me a feelings expert. I help tweens, teens, young adults and parents overcome anxiety and distress so their courage and strength can shine through.
The Identity Years
From the day your child hits double digits, if not before, you see them striving to figure out who they are and what they are going to be in this complex and complicated world. Then, you see them stumble on self-esteem, body image, friendship groupings, or academics. Your heart breaks as they struggle with identity challenges related to who they are (gender, sexuality), who they are or aren’t friends with, and how they feel about themselves. It’s that building anxiety, sadness or general grumpiness that tells you your child needs more support.
What I do
My goal is to help young people express their feelings of confusion, insecurity, and fear in real and constructive ways. They can learn when and how to ask for help while also learning tools to help themselves. It can be very hard to see your child struggle. Whether they feel like they are not being included with their peers or are frustrated and slamming doors the second they come home for the day. Children have a way of giving signs they are not feeling like their best selves. For parents like yourself, this can be difficult to endure. As their parent, you know your child the best. As a professional, I can work with you and your child to transform these challenges into triumphs.
Why I do this
Three of my top personal values when helping others are being strengths-based, embracing imperfection, and honesty. My clients note my ability to look towards someone’s strengths while being both real and reasonable. Your kids are amazing, we just need to help that light shine through.
Furthermore when perfectionism comes into the equation, I like to say “there’s no such thing as perfect” and “perfect is boring”. I know from my own journey to wellness that whether you are a child or adult, we can be our own worst critics. We live in a fast-paced society that can lead to a ‘grass is greener’ or ‘keeping up with the Jonses’ mindset. Just glance through your personal social media feed and you will see “perfect” representations of people’s lives. Indeed, what’s behind those images can be a completely different reality. It’s no doubt that this can be quite overwhelming and affects tweens, teens and adults alike.
What WE would do
Therapy is a trusting and special connection. I create a safe and welcoming environment for your child. We start out by talking about their interests and strengths. If your 16 year old is an aspiring artist, I encourage some drawing or painting. If your 10 year old loves reading, let’s create a story together. For the more visual thinkers, we can use a flip board and markers and for the tech-savvy we can use some “apps” to help with goals.
Once we set some goals (i.e. feeling less anxious /more brave, body appreciation, etc) I will teach your child ways to overcome and manage big feelings such as anxiety, sadness, or anger. We need all our feelings but we also need to them to work in synchrony with us. Additionally, I will meet with you, the parents and caregivers, to assist with your fears, expectations, and ultimate goals.
Bravery comes from facing fears and difficulties. Your teen is brave already. Let’s work together to see your child through to the other side of fear.
I offer after school appointments.
Let’s schedule a time to talk today
Connect Now or call 908-242-3634
I earned my Masters Degree in clinical social work from New York University and my Bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey majoring in social work with a minor in psychology. I have worked with children, teens, and adults with a variety of life situations ranging from social skills to bereavement. My therapeutic style is a mix of positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing. In addition to clinical work, I have also presented in the community for professionals, students and teachers. Topics include: mental fitness and aging, suicide and teen depression, school refusal and social anxiety, and compassion fatigue. My areas of speciality include anxiety, panic, social anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and identity challenges.