Child and Family Therapy
Kate O'Connell is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private clinical practice in Charlottesville, VA addressing the therapeutic needs of children, adolescents, couples, and families. Her extensive training in intensive in-home therapy working with at-risk, underserved populations enables her to facilitate positive outcomes for her clients dealing with a variety of mental health issues. In addition to her clinical training, Kate has studied and trained with many different teachers and healers operating from within a variety of different spiritual frameworks and healing modalities. She integrates this knowledge into her clinical practice and blends these modalities with her clinical skills, offering clients a truly holistic approach to their personal healing experience. Kate's style of therapy is a synthesis of all of her training which includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Play Therapy, Psychoeducation, Narrative Therapy, Sand Tray Therapy, Mindfulness Practice and Energy Medicine. She works effectively with children, adolescents, couples, and families addressing a multitude of mental health issues which include, but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, oppositional defiance, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, trauma, abuse, cutting, divorce, custody, substance abuse, anger, grief and loss. To refer a client call 540-447-6051
The soothing properties of sand stimulate the senses and gives the child a way to express themselves without having to use words.
"The aim of Western psychiatry is to help the troubled individual to adjust himself to the society of less troubled individuals who are observed to be well adjusted to one another and the local institutions, but about whose adjustment to the fundamental Order of Things no enquiry is made. Counselling, analysis, and other methods of therapy are used to bring these troubled and maladjusted persons back to a normality, which is defined, for lack of any better criterion, in statistical terms. To be normal is to be a member of the majority party - or in totalitarian societies, such as Calvinist Geneva, Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, of the party that happens to be in power. History and anthropology make it abundantly clear that societies composed of individuals who think, feel, believe and act according to the most preposterous conventions can survive for long periods of time. Statistical normality is perfectly compatible with a high degree of folly and wickedness.
But there is another kind of normality - a normality of perfect functioning, a normality of actualised potentialities, a normality of nature in it's fullest flower. This normality has nothing to do with the observed behavior of the greatest number - for the greatest number live, and have always lived, with their potentialities unrealised, their nature denied its full development." - Alduous Huxley -
As a mental health professional advocating for children, adolescents and their families within the legal, academic, and social institutions for a number of years, I have observed a growing intolerance within our society to behavioral presentations and patterns that do not conform to an increasingly narrow perception of what is 'normal'. Simultaneous to this increasing intolerance is a continuous breakdown within the institutions themselves which limits their ability to respond effectively to the needs of the individual. Unprecedented cutbacks in education, arts, and social programs which assist our most vulnerable citizens; the young, the elderly, the impoverished and the disabled, is creating a new culture of 'normal'; one in which our ability to respond to the 'troubled' or 'maladapted' individual is becoming more and more limited to chemical restraints. In our public schools physical exercise, creative expression, and critical thinking skills have been replaced with educational strategies such as "No Child Left Behind" and Standards of Learning requirements that entrain our children to focus primarily on test-taking and grade percentages. The results of which appear to directly correlate to their developing sense of self-worth or lack there of. Policies such as "Zero Tolerance" has created a fear-based culture of reactivity within our academic institutions, resulting in extreme, irrational consequences for what was previously recognized as falling within the realm of developmentally expected behaviors. For the first time in history we have agreed as a society, on a scale never before seen, that it makes perfect sense to chemically restrain our children when their behaviors and achievements do not conform to this narrowing bandwidth of perceived 'normality'. Consequently, one in four children in this country between the ages of 13 and 18 have now been identified as suffering from an anxiety disorder. In 1985, half a million children in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Today it is estimated that 5 to 7 million children in this country now have this diagnosis. Three and a half million children have met the criteria for a diagnosis of depression and a recent study showed a 600 percent increase in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder in children under the age of 13 in the last 10 years. Most of these children are receiving pharmacological interventions despite the absence of longitudinal studies that have not been funded by pharmaceutical companies excluding long-term, negative consequences on a brain still in it's formative stages of development. It would seem that the wide spread practice of chemically restraining our young citizens ensures their 'survival' now that they can adjust more easily to the "Fundamental Order of Things" of which, clearly, no serious enquiry is being made. - Kate O'Connell, LPC -