Great Lakes Psychology Group Expands Children’s Services at its Dearborn and Livonia Offices

3 min read

When your child is struggling at home or at school, you want the best care and advice possible to help get her back on track. At Great Lakes Psychology Group, we understand the emotional and developmental needs of children as well as the concerns and struggles of their parents and other caregivers. We do not adopt a one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter approach, but instead, seek to understand the needs of each child and family.

Recently we have expanded our children’s services at our Dearborn and Livonia, Michigan location with the addition of Dr. Melissa Andersen, a Fully-Licensed Pediatric Psychologist. Dr. Andersen has special training and interest in emotional and behavioral difficulties experienced by children and adolescents with health and medical issues, as well as behavioral issues that affect children and their families. She provides focused, evidence-based assessment and treatment plans, incorporating parents and caregivers closely in this process to ensure the best outcomes for her patients. She often works with other health care providers we well, such as pediatricians and pediatric specialists, to make sure all aspects of the concerns are addressed.

Dr. Andersen addresses a wide range of issues including:

· Difficulty with medical conditions, including (but not limited to)
· Not following medical plans/regimens
· Not wanting to wear medical devices such as Bi-/C-PAP, hearing aid, etc.
· Fear of needles, hard time with other medical procedures (e.g., blood pressure), and pill swallowing difficulties
· Chronic pain, or physical symptoms related to emotional difficulties (e.g., headaches, abdominal pain)

· Bedtime and Sleep Problems
· Resisting going to bed or staying in bed
· Difficulty falling or staying asleep without a parent
· Waking up in the middle of the night
· Sleeping a lot during the day

· Toileting Problems
· Toilet training
· Daytime wetting and bedwetting
· Soiling
· Toileting refusal

· Feeding problems
· Picky eating
· Mealtime misbehavior
· Oral aversion

· Anxiety and depression
· Fears and phobias
· Obsessions and compulsions

· Tics and Habit Problems
· Vocal tics, such as coughing, snorting, “clicking”
· Motor tics, such as arm or shoulder twitches, head jerks, facial grimaces
· Tourette’s Disorder
· Repetitive behaviors and habits, such as:
· Ongoing thumb sucking
· Nail biting
· Skin picking

· Behavior Concerns of Childhood
· Tantrums
· Not listening/noncompliance

Dr. Andersen also has a special interest and training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), a treatment program for young children with behavioral difficulties (e.g., aggression, non-compliance, defiance, and temper tantrums) that focuses on promoting positive parent-child relationships and interactions and teaching parents effective child management skills. Parents who go through the PCIT program can expect to receive teaching and coaching sessions in two phases. The first phase focuses on Relationship Enhancement or child-directed interaction skill-building. Parents are taught and coached how to use specific interaction strategies during short periods of play to reinforce positive behaviors and decrease negative interactions with their child. Once these skills are mastered, parents are taught and coached how to use effective behavior management and discipline strategies to increase child compliance during the Strategies for Compliance phase, which is also referred to as the parent-directed interaction phase. PCIT is generally administered in weekly 50 minute sessions in an outpatient clinic by a licensed mental health professional with experience working with children and families. The therapist teaches parents the necessary skills and coaches them as they practice these skills with their child in session. PCIT has been shown to be effective with improving parent-child interactions and the behaviors of children with behavior disorders, children with a history of abuse, children with prenatal substance exposure, and children with developmental disabilities. The most appropriate referrals for PCIT are children between 2 – 7 years of age who are engaging in challenging, disruptive behaviors.

If you are concerned about your child’s emotional and behavioral well-being, don’t wait. Call us to schedule an appointment for a confidential evaluation today.