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Seeking Recommendations for Child Psychologist

When we see that our child needs more specialized attention, we want to offer that access.  An urbanMama recently emailed, seeking suggestions for child psychologist:

I have a child who suffers from extreme shyness and overall anxiety about numerous things from thinking about death to stressing over doing the right thing to making an out in baseball to being afraid to ask a friend to play for fear of being told "no." He starts kindergarten next fall and was looking for advice from a recommended psychologist on ways in which I can help him succeed before he enters the public school system. Would love to see if anyone else has met someone they respect who has helped out their child.

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Dr. Lianne Richland 503-443-3975
Amazing women, she was a school teacher for years and is a Mom, so she really gets kids. We have been taking our son to her for 6 years, he was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder and she has changed our lives. I would have given up long ago if not for her.

We went to an amazing woman in NW Portland -- her name is Monne (pronounced Mony) Smith and she takes a variety of insurance programs. She worked within schools for over 30 years and has an amazing set of skills and experiences. We had the sense that she had encountered probably every single type of situation with a child. She's also very, very loving. Her number is (503) 730-7935.

I really like Larry Thornton Jones. My oldest son suffered from anxiety and we went to several therapists before we found Larry. He does play therapy and is very supportive of parents.

Our daughter also suffered from anxiety that was pretty severe at times. We saw Dr Darren Janzen at OHSU and that seemed to really help; he was recommended by our pediatrician. He gave us parents good info and support, and our shy daughter liked him almost immediately and they played fun games and activities.

Someone from our school recommended Meg Macdonald. A few kids from our school see her.

My sister-in-law, Athena Phillips, is fantastic, and wonderful with children. Please feel free to call her at 503-819-4181.

Is there anyway you could give him a little more time before starting public school kinder? My child is similar and we made the decision to put her in a small private school where she is thriving with lots more individual attention (lower teacher-student ratio). Her anxiety is accepted and she is nurtured. The price of full-time public kinder plus after care at our neighborhood school for us wasn't much different than the price of the lovely school we found. I realize that this doesn't answer your question or solve your problem but, just a thought. Best Wishes.

Also not what you're asking about, but have you seen a naturopath? There are so many ties between behavioral issues and food allergies, diet, etc. Might be worth investigating. Also would second a private school option, such as Waldorf, with a gentler atmosphere. I hope you find the resources and support you need. Your child is blessed to have such caring parents.

Our son has similar anxieties and fears and is in kindergarten. We were just recommended by many friends to go to the Children's Program which is a group of many different therapist/psychologists that have specialties. He has other challenges like Sensory Processing Disorder and is highly gifted - both which add to his anxieties so we're trying to get him some occupational help, figure out his food allergies and sort thru some other things so that the underlying causes of his anxiety are better before we seek that type of therapy. But it's on our list!

At what age is it appropriate to take your child to see a psychologist? My son just turned 1 year old and I'm already curious about if his separation anxiety is normal or if he has been traumatized in some way by being left alone by his father (while I'm at work). He will cry when I leave the room even when his father is still there with him. He doesn't even like to be left alone for 2 minutes for someone to go to the bathroom.

Lisa, that sounds normal to me. My daughter did that too, it'll pass.

It's hard to say whether or not something is a passing phase or something that should be taken seriously. I recommend you trust your instincts and what you know about your particular child. Checking in with a recommended professional can't hurt and might be very helpful. Good luck. It's so hard to see our kids go through difficult emotional experiences.

Lisa...for a child as young as one, you want to make sure to find someone experienced in infant mental health..it is an emerging field with a new certification program at PSU. Other states are actually much more ahead of the game than Oregon when it comes to infant mental health. You could call the Children's Relief Nursery and ask for a recomendation from them or contact Julie Puris at PSU (I think that is name of woman who runs the program) and ask for a referral.

Lisa, that sounds normal to me as well. It WILL pass. My second child is 15 months old and her mama-separation anxiety is about 3 months old. ! It eases up over the next 12 monthsor so.

I don't think you should be alarmed. Frustrated at times; flattered at times; but not alarmed. :-)

I *highly* recommend Amy Stoeber, a clinical psychologist for children. She's fantastic! Her ph: 503-653-5205. She's over in Clackamas, near Mt Talbert. (She does work with families as well.)

Please- I hope that in addition to your child seeing someone that you will also see someone. We, as parents, have a tendency to project our unconscious material onto our children. In their behavior we will always find evidence of how well attached they are (read about attachment theory) as well as a reflection of our own childhood material in addition to our own relationship to our parents and the world around us. Our own childhood, while very different then the experience that we are providing for our own children, is always a blue print to who tour own children are and anxieties and issues that they might have. It is our job as parents to also look at ourselves. A homeopath in addition to a therapist will help your child... but you have to understand how inextricably linked the two of you are. Please do consider this... and best wishes to you and your son. ( I say this as a mom as well as a psychologist)

Would any of the moms who responded about kiddos with anxiety issues be willing to talk with me off site? I have an almost two year old daughter who I think is dealing with anxiety issues and I am trying to sort out how to get her evaluated and how we can get help for her and us (her parents).

Thanks,

gawchk@gmail.com

I have also heard wonderful things about Meg Macdonald. Does anyone have her contact information?

My daughter's school recommends Karen Pomerantz. She works with a lot of their students and comes highly recommended!

This is the correct Phone number for Dr Richland (503) 422-3311

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