Child and Adolescent Therapy

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back." ~William D. Tammeus

Child therapy differs from adult therapy, in that children often best express their feelings, thoughts and experiences through play, while adults most often express themselves through words. Mr. Cagan, along with his staff of interns, do child-centered play therapy, allowing children to “show and tell” what is happening in their life experiences through use of symbolic language or play. A variety of therapeutic games and toys are selected according to individual presenting issues to facilitate a therapeutic process between child and therapist and allow maximum healing to take place.

Mr. Cagan is skilled at understanding the language of play, while responding to a child’s concerns with understanding and acceptance. As an experienced therapist, Mr. Cagan works with both parents and children to structure therapy in such a way that a child may heal their wounds and learn new ways of thinking, feeling, coping and relating to others. By collaborating with a child’s parent(s) to gain a better understanding of the child within the context of their home, family, and community, Mr. Cagan strives to help ensure that the accomplishments made in therapy will generalize into the child’s life outside of the therapeutic environment.


“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings." -Hodding Carter, Jr.

During adolescence, teenagers often feel caught in between childhood and adulthood. They are struggling to find their own identities in the midst of rapid physical, emotional and intellectual growth and changes. Therapy with adolescents often combines both play and talk therapy. Mr. Cagan prides himself with being keenly aware of the diverse needs of this varied age group of kids, tailoring her approach on an individual basis. While adolescents are able to use words to express themselves much better than younger children, there are still elements of their experiences, thoughts and feelings that may be easier for them to access through an alternative to words (i.e. play).

Another modality of therapy that Mr. Cagan employs is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on the impact of thoughts on behaviors. Therapy may be focused on specific issues such as substance abuse, risk-taking or aggressive and oppositional behaviors, family conflict, social difficulties, truancy, etc. Through talking, thinking and planning, the therapist and child work through specific stressors, phobias and other challenges.