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Therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of concerns related to adoption and foster care. Some ways therapy may help individuals and families cope with stressors related to adoption or foster care include:

  • Exploring one’s identity

  • Supporting safety and promoting a healthy and secure parent/child bonding experience for adoptive families

  • Telling a child they are adopted. Adoptive parents may be able to help by providing children with as much information as possible and by answering any questions a child might have about their adoption.

  • Processing trauma, posttraumatic stress (PTSD), or abuse

  • Addressing behavioral disorders in adopted or foster children

  • Working through anxiety, depression, addiction, or another mental health issues

  • Healing attachment issues experienced by children or adults who were adopted and/or in foster care

Attachment issues may be helped or resolved with intensive attachment-specific therapy, in addition to child and family trauma work. Skilled and loving caregivers who can self-regulate and provide children with what they need developmentally may be successful at helping children who face these issues adjust and thrive.

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In general, trauma can be defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. The effects can be so severe that they interfere with an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. In a case such as this, help may be needed to treat the stress and dysfunction caused by the traumatic event. Treatment may include building coping skills to manage trauma related thoughts and feelings and processing the trauma in the safety of the therapy


At Beyond the Reef Psychotherapy, trauma informed treatment models that are offered include: EMDR Therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT), MAP, Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and Seeking Safety.

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Animal-assisted therapies (AAT) are approaches to mental health care that incorporate animals into the psychotherapy process, emphasizing the bond created during human-animal interactions. Emotional recovery and positive psychological transformation often occurs when the relationship between an individual and the therapy animal grows.

Some benefits of animal assisted therapy include:

  • Produces automatic relaxation response

  • Lowers anxiety

  • Improves memory and recall

  • Enhances therapy process

  • Builds self esteem

  • Reduces blood pressure, depression, & risk of heart attack/stroke

  • Greater self-control

  • Develops problem solving skills

  • Grows trust and empathy

  • Fosters positive social skills

  • Boosts focus and attention

  • Strengthens balance and fine motor skills

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The term Perinatal commonly refers to pregnancy and up to a year after the birth of a child.  This can be an exciting and joyous time for many parents and families.  This can also be a time of overwhelm and distress due to the major physical and emotional changes that occur during pregnancy, childbirth and early infancy.


Reproductive trauma occurs when your reproductive story does not go as hoped and planned.  This includes but is not limited to infertility, miscarriage, premature birth, postpartum depression, and anxiety. 


Beyond the Reef Psychotherapy provides emotional support and assists individuals, couples, and families in navigating their reproductive story.

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Susan is a proud member of Perinatal Divas which signifies completion of specialized training in treating Perinatal Mental Health issues.

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EMDR Therapy

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and has demonstrated effectiveness for trauma, depression and anxiety.

EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue, or homework between sessions. EMDR, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain. Part of the therapy includes alternating eye movements, sounds, or taps. For many clients, EMDR therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than other psychotherapies. 


Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help. Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume.  The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.”

Understanding infant mental health is the key to preventing and treating the mental health problems of very young children and their families. It also helps guide the development of healthy social and emotional behaviors.


Infancy and early childhood (0-5) is a period of incredible growth in all areas of a child’s development. The earliest relationships with caregivers can promote healthy brain development, help young children in building social and emotional skills, and support language and literacy development starting from birth.

Beyond the Reef Psychotherapy offers Child Parent Psychotherapy and Infant Massage services to promote secure attachment in infants and children, nurture a healthy parent/child bond and help families thrive.

Newborn Baby
Mother and Baby Exercising

“Touch is the most powerful of all interactions between parent and child. It is a mirror of our inner feelings toward another person. Babies can sense what their parent is feeling by the way they are touched.”
                                                                                                                                       -Dr. Stephen Bavelok


Research supports that infant massage and infant massage parent education programs can increase parent confidence and attachment, result in greater success in adapting to and developing strategies to cope with parenthood and can benefit mothers with postpartum depression by helping them to relate to their baby and inducing the release of oxytocin.

Infant massage classes are cue-based and baby-driven. Parents/Caregivers are encouraged to respond to the individual needs of their babies. The classes are warm and relaxing, allowing individual baby’s needs to be considered and the small class sizes (or individual support) and structured format allows the time and space to learn from each others’ knowledge and experiences.

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