By Sarah Ellen Berman
Sometimes the ties that bind us become problematic. Interpersonal relationships occasionally impede rather than nurture a happy, healthy life. When this occurs within a family, restoring harmony to the home becomes a top priority and professional counseling is often sought. Dr. Melissa Camhy is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents, and families. She defines family therapy as, “a form of psychotherapy which brings the family together in group sessions to work on problems.” Individuals and subsets of family members are convened in her Mount Kisco office.
What catalysts compel clients to seek professional advice? There may be problems at work or school, resulting in poor job performance and learning issues. Dr. Camhy related that she is often consulted by families, “When they feel that their patterns of communication are creating unhappiness.” Parents often call when they feel that one of their offspring has become a source of tension within their unit.
Symptoms of depression, anxiety, or eating disorders may manifest. Dr.Camhy enables “family members to gain perspective on how their communication and relationship patterns may be perpetuating these problems.” In her role as facilitator in the healing process, Dr. Camhy provides families with the tools needed to achieve a sustainable, loving environment.
When working with individuals and families, Dr. Camhy adopts a “very collaborative approach.” Consultations with pediatricians, occupational therapists, teachers, and other relatives as well as observations of patients in their normal milieus provide her with valuable insight, which in turn informs her prescribed method of care.
Destigmatize is a buzzword most commonly associated with the treatment of mental illness. People are often hesitant to seek assistance. “The more that we can show how prevalent psychological dysfunction is and how it can develop in families where there’s tremendous love and affection, there won’t be this fear,” Dr Camhy noted. Disclosure and discussion of mental illness by celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones and productions such as “Next to Normal,” on Broadway have greatly contributed to acceptance and understanding.
In response to a query as to whether the current lackluster state of the economy has contributed to an increased level of discord in American homes, Dr. Camhy answered in the affirmative. In her opinion, “loss of employment” as well as “divorce and undue pressure to succeed,” often cause an increased level of stress in the family.
Dr. Camhy recognizes that it takes tremendous courage to take the first step in seeking treatment. By placing their trust in her, families establish a “therapeutic alliance.” Dr. Camhy teaches family members how to draw on their inner strengths to build peace within their home.
Sarah Ellen Berman is a frequent contributor to Inside Chappaqua who believes that the family who reads and plays together, stays together.