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: hyperactive child

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.

The child who is suffering quitely

As a therapist working with children I get often consulted by parents who are concerned about the big 'acting out' behaviors of their children like temper tantrums. Those behaviors 'disturb,' are in your face, and have the capacity to dysregulate the whole family.

It is not uncommon to hear upon further inquiry that a hyperactive child, very early on was very easy going. An initial 'passivity' can turn later on in hyperactive behavior, and psychomotoric agitation, with the child ignoring limits, putting him or herself in danger. This hyperactive child can not 'stop' to take a breath, observe the other, imitate to learn, construct. He is just a twirling, swirling body, acting out, often refusing to enter language. 

It is often at this moment that parents consult while there might have been concerns much earlier on. It is indeed the children that initially disturb the least, the children that make no or few demands that are often the most in need of help and care. 

Warning signs:

-a baby who does not express much.

-who expresses little pleasure or little dissatisfaction

-a little child that does not cry much

- a child that has only very little changes in mood

- a child that has little capacity to self regulate

- a child who does not show many transitional states (for example: a child that moves from anger to hypersomnia)

A lot of these warning signs could not be noticed as they might be interpreted as a sign of an 'easy' child, they are not 'loud.'

There might be also psychosomatic signs that might go unnoticed, as they tend to be frequent and common:

-unexplained fevers.

-infections and respiratory problems

-frequent hospitalizations.

It is often only by careful observation of the baby that certain problems can be noted:

-problems in tonus

-motoric problems: movements that are just centered on the self, balancing

In my experience it makes sense to consult as soon as the parent notices something of concern. The earlier concerns are explored and if necessary addressed, the easier it is on the parent and the child as well. With really young children intervention can be quite easy, and addressing it early can prevent a lot of worries and concerns down the road.

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