Raina Lawler, LMFT

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Sonoma State University & licensed in the state of California (#119678)

It’s so hard to watch your child struggle with feeling different, lonely, and left out. And for parents it can be emotionally painful and confusing. You feel frustrated and helpless and don’t know how to help your child, and are busy managing a household, making sure everyone’s basic needs are taken care of. Maybe your child feels left out socially, or part of their identity is different from their peers’. Maybe you have an adolescent who feels anxious and overwhelmed by social changes and physical changes in their body. Or your child’s mental health struggles leave them feeling alienated. Whatever the cause, you want your child to feel they belong, and your child wants to feel seen, heard, and connected to others.

I have worked in a variety of therapeutic settings including high schools and junior highs, family homes, and at nature camp in the Bay Area regional parks. My past clients include teen girls with anxiety, LGBTQI youth, and youth on the Autism Spectrum. This experience has given me a variety of skills that I use when seeing kids at Family Spring.

I work with families whose kids are struggling with different stresses, including:

  • Substance Abuse and alcoholism in the family
  • Anxiety related to phase of life changes in adolescents
  • Social isolation, trouble making friends
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Divorce or disruption in parents’ relationship
  • Sexual Identity and gender identity
  • Behavioral Problems

It can be so valuable to have a trusted adult for your teen or child to talk about what they’re going through. What I can do is create a safe space for your child to be his or her authentic self and express their deepest feelings. I help them feel seen and heard by allowing them space to be themselves and be witnessed by an adult who can validate them. I help kids and their parents feel less alone, by giving everyone practical tools to cope with their struggles, with the ultimate goal of being an emotionally healthy, connected, family who can handle the challenges that come their way.

One of my favorite psychotherapy quotes is from Irvin Yalom: “We don’t know why therapy works, we just know that it does”. It is humbling to have a seasoned professional admit there is some mystery to the therapeutic process! That said, there are many techniques I know to be effective, that I will use with your child to engage them in the therapeutic process. Some ways I work therapeutically with your child:

  • Creating a safe space to be their authentic self
  • Witness them express their deepest feelings
  • Normalizing experiences and differences
  • Jungian Sand Tray Therapy
  • Play therapy for creative expression
  • Breathwork for anxiety
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for anxiety
  • Thought stopping (don’t feed the worry monster!)
  • Scaling questions
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Teaching self-care practices
  • Helping your child identify strengths
  • Facilitating peer groups

There is help and hope for your child, and I am ready to be that supportive person in their lives to help them feel less alone. I will let them know there is nothing wrong with them, the things they are struggling with are hard, and they are going to be okay. I’m here and ready to help.

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