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. 

Filtering by Tag: Child therapist Chico

Why does psychotherapy work with young children?

As a psychotherapist and analyst I can at times get a response of disbelief when I say that I work with children that are sometimes as young as 2 years old. Some of my colleagues work even with new borns, infants... The puzzlement seems to connect with a certain disbelief that 'talking' with such a young child could be helpful. And is there even need for help? Are children not resilient? Psychotherapy is  often, and rightfully understood as addressing some kind of 'trauma.' Are children that young already truly 'traumatized?' They can be, and even if there is no immediate trauma in the typical sense we are used to understand that word - a traumatic birth, a medical issue, there is the trauma that every human child is confronted with when he comes in the world: language. From the moment the child comes into the world he is immersed in a bath of language. The 'talking cure' can help even very young children for what can be truly traumatic for a child is exactly language. In spite of the best intentions of the people who speak them, words that surround the child can hurt and pain the child, can make it difficult for the child to speak, express himself.  It is this inability to put what hurts into words  that is the basis for appearing symptoms. Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy can  help deliver that what is said beyond the speakers intention, and what might be connected with the child's symptoms. Once this unspoken truth is delivered, the symptom can disappear. 

To schedule an appointment with An, call (530) 321-2970

The hyperactive, turbulent child

In an earlier post I talked about the child who is suffering quitely, and often 'invisibly' as this quite behavior is often not concerning to the parent, but understood as 'easy.' As a therapist I unfortunately often only get to see these children after the suffering has been going on for a while, and has reached a certain point where it has reached a magnitude that it has become visible - either through a suicide attempt, self harming behavior, or by concerns expressed by teachers or other people involved. 

On the other end of the spectrum is the loud child. The charicature of this child is a 3 year old agitated, noisy, disorderly, sometimes violent child, who is also lively, restless and very difficult to live with. He is not going to be the teacher's favorite when he enters preschool! 

Do these children suffer? Or do they make their environment suffer? They do test their parents pushing against limits to explore their firmness, and consistency. They need to be firm so they can feel safe and protected. The limit helps them to structure themselves. So, sometimes it could be that it is the parents that need the support and help with this very challenging and not very easy task. 

But it could be that this turbulency masks an underlying anxiety as the child does not feel secured by a certain structure. It could be that the child is suffering from that, but not always. When parents consult me for such a child, it might take some time to explore whether the it is indicated to see the child in treatment. As each child and each family is unique this has to be addressed and decided on a case by case basis.

If you want to schedule an appointment with An Bulkens, call (530) 321-2970.

An Bulkens    |    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist    |   MFC 52746

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