Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Call 510-394-4686 for a FREE Phone Interview
Matthew Lindgren offers family therapy in Oakland to help adults and children adjust to deaths, births, child behavioral problems, and attachment problems, and childhood trauma.
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you might be surprised to learn that family therapy could be one of the most effective ways of helping you. Many people have troubled relationships with their families, but few realize that there is something you can do about it. I am an Oakland family therapist who can help you, and everyone in your family, grew closer to each other as well as to mature and adjust to big changes in life.
As humans, we are incredibly social animals who are meant to live tightly knit groups of family and community. A great deal of research points again and again to the fact that people have a higher quality of mental health when they have a strong network of friends, family, and social support. I believe that social connections are probably much better interventions to improve mental health than even therapy - in many circumstances.
Yet, in our culture people tend to be isolated and estranged from family and friends, struggling through life alone. We tend to pin our hopes on finding a romantic partner to be our "whole world", yet even when that does happen, we still need more than just a partner to be whole. Ironically, many of us only think of therapy as something we do individually, when in fact we go to therapy because we're unhappy with our relationships.
Why not use therapy to build and strengthen your relationships with family and friends? Have someone help you move past stumbling blocks and old resentments and pain toward healthy relationship of love and respect. Build a better relationship with your parents, your siblings, your partner, or kids. Can you think of a better way to invest your time and money than to grow closer to the people you love?
Give me a call to schedule an Oakland therapy appointment today.
The forms of family therapy I practice in Oakland are based on systems theory, which is a scientific theory that describes how complex systems, like ecosystems, function. Applied to families, systems theory focuses on how families find balance between resisting change and adapting to new information.
I find that systems based family therapy is very effective, and yet sometimes difficult to explain. It often requires looking at the deeper meaning and function of what we call symptoms. A basic tenet of systems theory is that nothing is really isolated, so that when we see one person in a family with "bad behavior", it requires not just a change in that one person, but also everyone else in the family. This kind of thinking is popular in addiction work, where therapists will often work with codependent - the people who support someone with an addiction - as part of treating the person with addiction.
People who practice family therapy are often asked to "fix" someone with a problem, usually a child who is acting out, or in couples work, a cheating or resentful spouse. Paradoxically, it is often more helpful to address these symptoms by working with the whole family, couple, or by focusing on work with "easier" problems in the family or on people who "don't have a problem". When you make a change to a small part of a system to help it adjust to new information, you help the entire system adjust.
In my work with traumatized children in Oakland, I find that children always heal from trauma while they grow closer to a safe and loving adult. A relationship with a safe and loving adult seems to go hand in hand with any healing.
So whenever possible, I attempt to do child-focused conjoint family therapy with traumatized children that focuses on attachment - or the relationship between child and caregiver. This form of therapy usually brings one parent or caregiver into the room. The focus is entirely on the child, and on strengthening the relationship with the caregiver. As a parent, you get to learn how to be a child play therapist, which is a great gift to give your child.
Depending on your situation, I will often step in to shift themes in the play, or to suggest activities that may be of therapeutic value in directly addressing a problem in your relationship with your child, or a symptom of the child's traumatic past.
Conjoint family therapy, sometimes called dyadic therapy, is particularly helpful for children who have been in the foster care system or who have lost a parent, particularly those children with reactive attachment disorder. The form of therapy I practice in Oakland is very similar to filial play therapy, though I have not been specifically trained in this technique.
This form of therapy is not usually very helpful for teens and adolescents, however, as they are usually in a developmental stage where they are no longer attempting to bond with a caregiver. See my page on teens and adolescents for interventions geared toward this age group in Oakland.
Along with attachment focused conjoint family therapy, I offer a form of family therapy to traumatized children in Oakland that makes use of the extremely powerful and effective EMDR technique, usually in the context of conjoint family therapy. EMDR narrative therapy helps children and caregivers create a story that makes sense of the trauma, and then builds a new life story that focuses on how the child is better now.
Quite often, parents and caregivers are afraid to talk with their children about traumatic events, especially those of a sexual nature. Sometimes parents may not know how to make sense of the trauma themselves, let alone explain it in a way that's appropriate for a child. As difficult as it may be to explain horrific events, it is quite necessary to do so. Usually, if a child doesn't have an explanation for a traumatic event, they'll make one up. Children will usually make up a story where everything is their fault.
Narrative therapy can help correct the distorted stories children sometimes create around trauma so children feel good about themselves, the safe adults in their lives, and their future. I am happy to help you and your child work through traumatic material through my Oakland therapy practice.
Call 510-394-4686 for a free phone consultation.