Imagine your child confidently telling you, their siblings, and friends what they want and how they feel without having to yell, pout, tantrum or shutdown to be heard.
How would your child act and feel if they knew they could respectfully express themselves?
How would your life be different if you felt heard, understood, and respected?
I'm Dr. Laura Dessauer and I teach parents and children creative tools to help your child solve their problems, feel more confident and connected, and communicate better. I also help adults let go of thoughts and behaviors that keep them feeling stuck in "shoulds" , doing what others want, and not feeling "good enough".
I am a board certified art therapist, parent coach with a doctorate degree in counseling psychology, and the owner of an award winning business called the Creativity Queen LLC. I have 23 years of experience working with families, children and teens in therapy and I've contracted with over 21 school districts in New York, Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch areas. I'm recognized as an international presenter, esteemed clinician, author, and winner of the 2007 Small Business of the Year Award (SCORE).
I am passionate about teaching children and parents creative ways to connect and communicate with respect and compassion, so your child can feel happier and more confident.
Here's an interview with some commonly asked questions:
Who are your clients exactly?
Although I specialize in working with children and adolescents and families, my clients rage from children to adults.
They are families and individuals who are looking for support and encouragement and are open to finding new creative ways to communicate their feelings and make positive changes in how they are handling situations. These are often the types of people attracted to my work and those families I work well with:
Children and teens who struggle with:
- Behavior problems: Children who throw tantrums, have meltdowns or engage in power struggles, become disrespectful, oppositional, or shutdown when they become upset or don’t like what is requested of them.
- Getting along with sibling, family members, or peers: Children who have a difficult time getting along with other family members, listening to parents, dealing with siblings or step-siblings behaviors, or peer relationships.
- Inflexibility or rigidity and have a hard time adjusting or transitioning: These children may have processing issues, they may be diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, or with bi-polar disorder. These children may think they are the ‘boss’ or they have difficulty connecting with others and they seek out ways to be in control. Other children may have a difficult time tolerating frustrations if things don’t go their way, or plans change.
- Self-esteem and self- confidence: These children can feel defeated, may be anxious, worried or depressed. They may believe they need to be perfect to be lovable and may have body, eating issues or they resort to cutting or self-injurious behaviors as a way to manage these feelings.
- Being exceptional: These may be gifted or bright children who place high expectations upon themselves and struggle when things don’t go their way. These children may have a difficult time sleeping or self-soothing and accessing their feelings, or they may become overly sensitive. They may also struggle with being with children their own age and often their cognitive and social/emotional behaviors are incongruent.
- Learning disabilities and special needs: Children with writing, speech, developmental, or processing issues who may become frustrated, anxious or shutdown when attending to difficult tasks. The stress involved in attending to difficult task is often too overwhelming and they may give up or become upset.
- Impulsivity, forgetfulness, scattered behaviors and difficulty following through on requests: These children may struggle with getting their homework done, staying on task, sitting still in school, listening, and seem to be always getting into trouble or not paying attention. These children may have ADD/ADHD or anxiety or processing issues that impact their behavior and often their self-esteem.
- Sensory issues such as coping with environments which are too loud or too bright or clothes or foods that feel uncomfortable. They may easily become overwhelmed or anxious when introduced to new situations.
- Anxiety, both normative worry and anxious perseverative thoughts or behaviors due to traumatic experience or neurobiological disorders. These children may experience behavioral tics, avoidant behaviors, social anxiety, or obsessive or compulsive thoughts and/or behaviors.
- Developmental maturation issues such as managing chores, online and electronic boundaries, curfews, experimenting with sex, drugs, and alcohol and testing limits. These children and teens may need more guidance and support from a non-judgemental source outside of the family. Also, parents who are looking for support on what’s “normal” and how to best address these issues without yelling and arguing.
- Grief and loss issues related to divorce, the loss or illness of someone in their life or a beloved family pet. These children may have a hard time expressing their feelings with divorce, and transitions between households with different rules or a loved one’s illness or death and may withdraw, pretend everything is fine, or choose escaping behaviors as a means to cope.
I also work with many adults who come to art therapy initially because of the concerns with their children. The adults I work with tend to be bright, driven, exceptional individuals, often high achieving professionals or dedicated moms who have given so much to others or their work. They are looking to release some of their worries and struggles and embrace self-love and acceptance.
I work with adults who struggle with:
- Relationships with others and getting their needs met
- Feeling good enough in their lives
- Accessing their feelings because they are very cerebral and often very busy in their “mind”
- Food, alcohol, sex or other behaviors to cope with their feelings and self-soothe
- Anxiety, impulsivity, depression or traumatic experiences
All of the clients I work with enjoy art and being creative and find that they can develop unique individualized coping strategies using the creative process.
What is art therapy?
In simple terms art therapy utilizes art making and creativity to help the individual in therapy express and process difficult feelings. Art making is used to teach new behaviors, encourage positive choice making, learn ways to express and manage difficult feelings, and develop self-confidence. Art therapists are specialists who have at minimum a Master's degree in art therapy or a related field and have completed their post-graduate clinical supervision to become an ATR ( Registered Art Therapist), and many have achieved the highest credential of national Board Certification (BC).
How long have you been doing what you do and why did you become an art therapist?
As long as I can remember I loved art, and as I grew older and became a teen I went through a period where I used art to express and communicate feelings that were difficult to put into words. When I heard of the profession of art therapy in 1988 I knew that this was what I was meant to do.
I pursued education in art and psychology at New York University, then went to Nazareth College of Rochester for my masters degree in art therapy, and completed my doctorate degree in counseling psychology at Argosy University in Sarasota, FL. Throughout the years I worked with children and families at several ARC’s in NY and FL, at alternative high schools, middle schools, day treatment programs and pre-trial youth program. In 2005 I moved to FL and spent time working with families at various Florida agencies and schools, and via my own art therapy private practice.
As you can see, I am passionate about working with children and families and helping parents find creative ways to support their child to communicate their feelings so they feel happier and more confident.
How are you different from other “therapists?”
As an art therapist I continually bring in the art and creative problem solving process into our work together, so you or your child can come up with creative ways to solve the problems you are encountering. The goal is to help my clients express their feelings and manage their behaviors in creative positive ways.
If you've ever taken your child or teen to a talk therapist you know what that’s like. It’s hard to engage your child when an adult is staring at them asking questions, and forget about your child following the suggestions that the therapist gives them. During the art therapy sessions your child will have an opportunity to create ideas that work uniquely for them and practice what they are learning during the session. For example, a child who easily gets frustrated can practice the breathing technique they learned right there in session when the glue on their art project doesn't stick!
Also, the creative process allows the opportunity to access emotions and process feelings rapidly. It engages the right side of your brain, accessing intuition, feelings, and creative divergent possibilities thinking, rather than the logical linear part of the brain active during talk therapy. In other words, using art will help you access your feelings much more rapidly than traditional talk therapy (especially if you tend to be an over thinker). Children are naturally drawn to the creative process; it’s like speaking their native language, which will help them take what they are learning in session and use it more quickly!
Who do you work best with?
I have a very exclusive practice, as my work is very comprehensive. I see only a dozen of clients each month to ensure that all of the individuals and families I work with receive the maximum benefits during our work together. I am extremely committed to helping you, your child, and your family, and the families I work best with are committed to change and willing to invest time and energy to practice new behaviors on a weekly basis.
Laura, based on everything I've read and heard about you, I know I’d like to learn how to work with you. What are my options for getting started with you?
I would be delighted to connect with you to learn more about your specific concerns. Let’s set up a convenient time to talk to see if working together would be a good fit. Click below to schedule your Complimentary Support Consultation.