Pacific Mind Institute provides a full range of counseling services.
We have experience in treatment of the following:
Children's Behavioral Issues
Now offering HIPPA secure video conferencing! You can have your counseling session right in the comfort of your home or office!!
No matter what your struggle, we will find solutions. You will feel respected and supported as we work to get you the tools you desire to change your present circumstances. Whether your child is struggling, or you want direction as a parent, we can figure out how to best support you and your child. There is hope. Together we will find a way to get you and/or your children to where you know want to be.
Play therapy is the most natural and developmentally sensitive way to allow a child to express their feelings and/or experiences with a therapist. It is recognized by professionals and organizations worldwide as a highly effective tool for children to process events in their lives and reach their optimal growth and development.
"My daughter, Amy, began receiving therapy with Erica Van Leuven approximately 2 years ago, after being referred by her pediatrician. Amy (who was just 3 at the time) began having seizures 1 year prior to this, and her seizures continued off and on for over a year. Multiple tests had been done, and she was given many different medications in an attempt to get her seizures under control. However, it still felt like something was missing to me. At this time, I was sharing custody of my children with my ex-husband who lived out of state. Amy seemed so sensitive and fragile during these transitions, and it was very apparent that her stress levels increased significantly during times of change. She always looked worried, jumpy, anxious, and scared. She needed almost constant reassurance, and separating from me was nearly impossible. I remember trying so hard to get her so sleep in her own room, and that was just not going to happen. I remember thinking that we were making progress when I finally was able to get her to stop sleeping in my bed with me, but only because I put her toddler bed RIGHT next to my bed in my room. She would wake up in the middle of the night crying, seemingly for no reason. And all throughout the day, she needed to be held. As a parent, it was exhausting, but my heart broke for her, because I didn't know what to do to help her. At our very first appointment, Erica instantly put me at ease, and she connected with Amy right away. She was so warm, and so compassionate, and understanding. I could tell that she was genuinely interested in my daughter, and was excited to help her. What transpired after that has truly been the biggest blessing of my life. Throughout these last couple years of counseling, I have learned so much about my daughter, and anxiety, and how it affects her. And what is truly amazing, is how it has helped Amy. Amy now has so many tools to help her regulate her emotions, and even at just the young age of 5, she is able to understand her own feelings, and express herself to others. She knows what she needs to feel safe and secure, and counseling has helped her to achieve this. I was reminded of this just the other day. I volunteered in Amy's kindergarten class and the teacher's aid said to me "I just love your daughter! She is always so sweet. And she's really cute because she will come up to me and tell me "I am having a great day today!" or sometimes she will tell me "Today I'm not having such a great day, but I can do hard things!". Amy now is so aware of her own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. She is such a confident, and bright, energetic, sweet little girl. I am so very grateful for the kind care that she received through Erica Van Leuven." Mother of Amy
Client Testimonial "When I first met Erica, the self-doubt I had in my parenting abilities deeply affected my relationship with my four year old son, as well as his behavior. I was overwhelmed and knew that my son and I needed an outsider's perspective and assistance. Erica's calming and accepting demeanor immediately put both my son and I at ease. Observing my son develop such a healthy relationship with Erica instilled confidence inside of me knowing that she was there to help us grow as mother and child. Because of the knowledge and help that she provided, I can now say that my relationship with my son has never been stronger. Not only that, but because of her unwavering belief in me, I have developed a strong belief in myself and my parenting abilities." Elizabeth - mom of 4 year old
When my husband and I decided to end our marriage. There was a lot of conflict in the house, and it wasn’t a good environment for our children. In addition, they had been introduced to some questionable people, and their safety was most important.
We were referred to Erica and met with her as a family. Charlie, our son, was 4 at the time. He has always been a sensitive child, and he was struggling with our separation because he remembered what our family was like before the conflicts began. Erica took Charlie to her office and allowed him to explore and play. He started seeing Erica once a week. At first, he was very shy and wanted to stick close to me. A couple of times I had to walk him into the office, but eventually he was able to go by himself. Charlie mostly focused on the sand table for a long time, and wasn’t particularly good at opening up. It took around two months of once a week visits for Charlie to really open up about what he was feeling. Once he was able to open up, he relaxed quite a bit and started looking forward to going. In addition, I was given tools to help Charlie work through his frustrations. Transitions to and from his father’s house were very difficult. In addition, he had a level of uncertainty that was causing him to have difficulty sleeping. Erica helped our family come up with a daily schedule, and allowed Charlie to take ownership by letting him choose the pictures that would provide visual cues for the activities. Eventually, Charlie learned coping skills that would help him talk about his feelings and frustrations, and reduced the stress and anxiety he was experiencing
Counseling gave Charlie the confidence he needed to take control of his feelings. He is still sensitive and still struggles with transitions, but he has the tools he needs to effectively cope without melting down every time he has to go to his dad’s. He takes ownership of his feelings, and is able to use I-statements to let me know how he’s feeling. He sleeps better than he used to, and doesn’t seem to have as many nightmares as he used to. While he still suffers from fears of abandonment (ie—never seeing me again), they aren’t as frequent, and he’s able to talk about them now). He can predict those situations that might cause anxiety, and can do what he needs to do to reduce his fears (asking questions, “checking things out” ahead of time, etc.).
Charlie progressed out of counseling in the fall, just after he started Kindergarten. While the transition to school caused me a bit of anxiety (worrying about how he would handle it), he did quite well. The tools he learned in counseling, and well as the loving support he received from his teacher, helped him have a successful start to the school year. In addition, Charlie played on a soccer team in the fall and signed up to play t-ball in the spring—two things I didn’t think would happen for another few years, as he was so against new situations.
Reflecting on how much Charlie has grown emotionally over the past 1 ½ years reminds me of just how far he has come. He has a confidence now that he didn’t before, and things that were so debilitating for him a year ago aren’t even an issue now. He’s happy, friendly, loving, and in-control of his behavior and surroundings. I credit his work with Erica for much of that.