I am Christine Jeffrey, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker helping families in and around the Morris County area. I grew up in New Jersey and studied at Pace University and Yeshiva University in NYC and earned my Master of Social Work from Barry University in Florida. I enjoy living in New Jersey with my husband and two children, who not surprisingly, have proven to be two of my best teachers.
Family Therapist/ Parenting Coach
For most parents nothing is more important than their relationship with their children – and no one wants to waste precious family time in conflict. As a family therapist and/or parenting coach I help mothers and fathers effectively gain control of their child’s behavior while strengthening relationships in the family. So whether you are dealing with a specific behavioral challenge or facing a bigger life issue, I provide insightful observations, valuable effective techniques and concrete steps to help your child and family. I always highlight what a child and/or family is already doing well and what makes him or her special, while shaping challenges in a non-judgmental, caring way.
I specialize in helping children work through behavioral, emotional and/or social problems they are experiencing. A parent typically seeks my help because of their child’s battered self-esteem due to bullying or social problems, difficulties with a changing family or a serious mental health issue such as, an anxiety disorder or depression to name a few. Behaviors that parents bring to my attention include increased anger, irritability or aggression, declining grades, self-harm, anxiety that is frequent and intense enough to impede their child’s function and happiness, defiance, sadness, school refusal, sleep issues, drug or alcohol related issues and many other behaviors that are significant enough to warrant concern and attention.
As a family therapist and/or parenting coach, I offer expert guidance to help families regain their balance and move forward together. A top priority is preserving your parent-child relationship, and one of my greatest strengths is my ability to see connections and patterns that are key to resolving your family’s difficulties and discord. It is also of the utmost importance to preserve and nurture a child’s self-esteem in the process of addressing therapeutic issues. I use a short-term, goal-oriented style and create a specific plan designed to allow families to solve issues and move on.
As a child therapist I use creative and play therapy to uncover what a child’s perception of an event, his or her situation or role in a relationship is and reflect that back to the parents so growth or change can be made. With young children the parents are involved in every session. With older adolescents parents are involved less in the one to one client-therapist relationship, but are still generally involved in their child’s progress and plan-of-care. I offer a collaborative approach that may include teachers, the pediatrician and other caregivers, as needed and/or desired by the parents in their child’s plan-of-care. If everyone is on the same page there is a much greater success rate and the control over the situation is back with the parents, where it belongs.
Specific treatment models I use include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness and relaxation techniques and tools, creative therapy, and various other evidenced-based therapies and interventions that promote changing the way one thinks, acts and feels, depending on the problem at hand. Raising confidence, bringing more awareness to a child, creating more accountability and empowering or inspiring a child to reach for the set goals or work on his or her challenges are done in a way to ensure success for that child .
I understand that parents can feel frustrated and powerless. All families go through ups and downs, even loving and dedicated ones. Sometimes meeting with someone objective and highly skilled in providing a fresh approach to change is the most loving way to take care of your children.
I have been working with children, adolescents and their families in private practice since 2001, and in other settings for several years prior, in both in-patient and out-patient medical and mental health centers and hospitals including:
- A highly successful adolescent treatment program for juvenile offenders.
- As a court-appointed parenting evaluator to assist with high-conflict divorce cases.
- An ER and ICU medical social worker in a level 4 trauma hospital.
- A therapist in an in-patient child and adolescent psychiatric hospital.
- An out-patient child therapist at a community mental health center.
- A home-based therapist for children in crisis.
Certifications I hold include being a certified and licensed school social worker, certification in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) for treating victims of traumatic events including domestic violence and sexual abuse, and specialized training in the diagnosing and treatment of ADHD.
The extensive clinical training and experience I have had throughout my career allow me to help with a wide range of issues and diagnoses including:
- Family communication issues
- Defiant or oppositional behavior
- Parental limit-setting
- Self-esteem issues
- Social skills
- Divorce and custody difficulties
- Issues of loss
- Blended family challenges
- Anxiety and anxiety disorders
- LBGT and their families
- Learning disorders
- School behavioral and achievement problems
- Sensory processing difficulties
- Sibling conflict
- Substance abuse in adolescents
- Sexual abuse