Chico Center for Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy and Counseling services for Children & Adults | Support for Parents


Chico therapist An Bulkens, LMFT is psychotherapist and counselor in Chico, California.  An Bulkens specializes in psychotherapy and counseling for young children  (toddlers, preschoolers, adolescents) and support for parents, with a special emphasis on  early childhood psychotherapy, and counseling  for preschoolers and Kindergarten aged child.  She also offers parenting skills support. She offers psychoanalytic psychotherapy for adults.  Her approach is grounded in  Lacanian Psychoanalysis. She was also trained as a clinical psychologist in Europe, Belgium.  Her education emphasized developmental psychology and psychoanalytic therapy. 

Child therapy and trauma

As I mentioned in the last post, when concerned parents bring their child to me, they often have an idea of what might be the cause of their child’s problems. They think it is often connected to some traumatic event. A trauma is understood as an accident, something that could have been avoided. It is an overwhelming event that the child cannot handle, deal with, does not have the symbolic capacity to process.

The most common reason that parents bring in their children is because of a divorce, or separation. They recognize this as a traumatic event for the child. And often with good reason, as for the young child both father and mother in the house are the scaffolding of their world. Once this framework collapses it is as if their world collapses. The young child does not know about the intricacies of the adult world, and will often interpret this traumatic event with the tools that it has at its disposal. The mis-understanding that follows can be the seed for a lifelong feeling of inadequacy, low self esteem. ‘I was my dad’s princess. Now, he suddenly leaves me. There must be something wrong with me, I am not enough…’

However, trauma is not just accidental, it is ‘structural.’ In the early years of its life a child is bombarded with sensations, emotions that overwhelm, invade his body, and that the child does not know what to do with, what to make of it. For a very sensitive child these experiences can be truly ‘traumatic,’ and overwhelming. However, in those cases he parent who is not aware of an immediate trauma in the common sense of the word, can be at a loss at how to help the child. The parent might start to feel inadequate, guilty as he feels he cannot help the child. It is in those cases that therapy can often help the very young child and his parents. Unfortunately, they are the cases where parents often do not seek help because of the mistaken idea that since there is no clear ‘trauma.’ They think that in those cases therapy cannot help, that it must be ‘biological.’ However, in many cases the symptom of the child is connected to a ‘trauma’ that is not perceived as such by the parent as it does not conform to our common sense understanding of what trauma means.

To schedule an appointment, contact An Bulkens at (530) 321-2970

An Bulkens    |    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist    |   MFC 52746

Tel. (530) 321- 2970    |   186 E 12th ST,  Chico, CA 95928