Columbia Crossing Counseling Services - Jenny TeGrotenhuis, MA., M.Ed., LMHC
My Background and Focus:

I am a licensed mental health counselor in WA state with an M.Ed. in Counseling from Heritage University, and an MA in Teaching from U.C. Berkeley

Child and adolescent counseling:  I have experience counseling children and teens who are dealing with trauma, divorce, anxiety, depression, learning and behavioral challenges, and the unique concerns related to giftedness, as well as ADHD.

Individual counseling and psychotherapy:  My practice is also with individuals dealing with personal and relational concerns; mood disorders; building self-confidence; social and coping skills; healing from abuse; victimization and bullying; difficulties with anxiety, food and substance issues.

Marriage counseling: Working with couples to bring reconciliation and healing to wounded relationships is an area I am passionate about!  Painful patterns can be replaced with strong and loving bonds of attachment and security. Combining the knowledge gleaned from post-masters studies in marriage counseling along with more than 13 years experience working with people in support groups, I have also journeyed alongside my own husband on a path of marital restoration and transformation. I believe that while relationships are often the place where our brokenness is most apparent, it is also the place that holds the greatest potential for healing and fulfillment.  I am eager to work together with couples to create marriages of growth and transformation.

Christian counseling: While my academic background is clinical, I am a faith-based practitioner for those seeking Christian counseling.  Solid biblical counsel and prayer therapies can be applied to any circumstance, and all of my counseling theories and techniques are compatible with a Christian world view.

Developmental Counseling for Individuals of All Ages:
Life challenges that cause stress, grief or loss – also, challenges in learning or behavior–can disrupt healthy development at any age, preventing someone from progressing positively to the next stage in life.  When growth or life-progress is blocked for any reason, counseling can help.  It is important to make a healthy adjustment to each stage in human development.  When milestones are not met; when healing is unfinished or emotional needs unfulfilled, a block occurs which deeply impacts the quality of life, success and relationships on many levels.

How can counseling help?
Diagnostic approaches help the counselor and client get a picture of what is happening to block development or adjustment. Therapeutic techniques bring healing and changes.
I use a variety of both diagnostic and therapeutic methods to bring insight and positive transitions, resolving blocks that cause feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety and stress. 

My Approach:  I utilize a variety of counseling approaches, including, but not limited to: Family Systems Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral therapy, marital therapy and experiential therapies.  Each of the therapies I use has been documented through research to be effective and safe for promoting insight, growth and change.

Sand Tray Therapy: Additionally, I use Sand Tray Therapy, an expressive technique that opens pathways of awareness through  images.  It can provide a powerful picture.  Sand tray is effective with all ages, children through adults. I also use play therapy techniques.

See below for articles on ADHD, gifted children, when to seek counseling . . .

When To Seek Professional Help For Problems
The time to seek help is...
 . When you feel increasingly discouraged and confused about life.
 . When you feel that something is bothering you, but you aren't sure what it is.
 . When you feel that everyone is against you.
 . When you find yourself unable to get a handle on your anger, fear,
   worry, or sleeplessness.
 . When you keep hearing from others that you're being unreasonable or insensitive.
 . When you find yourself thinking seriously about how to get out of your commitment
   to a relationship or a job.
 . When you are wrestling with an issue that will have significant effects on yourself
   and others around you.
 . When you are unable to change behavior that is harming yourself or others.
 . When you have secret compulsions that feel out of control.
 . When there is a pain within yourself that is not being resolved by the normal channels of asking forgiveness, admitting you've been wrong, and seeking reconciliation.
 . When you keep having thoughts of not wanting to live.

How do you know if you need counseling or psychotherapy? Sometimes it’s absolutely clear to you and those around you that you’re experiencing a serious crisis or mental illness. In most instances though, the need is less apparent. In general, emotional problems arise because there is an important difference between what we would like our life to be and how life actually is. This discrepancy can also be called a loss.
The loss may be one that has already occurred, is happening now, or is anticipated in the future. The loss may be not getting a job that you counted on; or the loss may be the death of a closed friend or relative. A lack of confidence is a loss of a sense of identity. Feeling that we are not what we can be or want to be as persons is experienced as a loss.
Whenever we sense a loss we are likely to react with any of a variety of responses. You may suffer dramatic mood shifts, constant fatigue, a drastic change in eating habits, persistent guilt feelings, and/or insomnia. There may be a recurring, irrational sense of panic, or the persistent, overwhelming feeling of doom. Constant physical ailments such as headaches, rashes, or backaches my have psychological causes. Or the problems may be in marriage and family relationships, or in excessive drinking or drug abuse.
If we look at our strong emotional reactions as a way we are handling some loss, we have a way of understanding what we are experiencing with our personal problems. For example, I may feel angry when I am first confronted with a loss. I may feel guilty and depressed when I am losing something important to me. The loss could be a job, a relationship, a promotion, or even a role such as the loss a parent feels when their children grow-up and leave home.
When your emotional problems are overwhelming you to the point of spending several hours a day thinking about them, you should consider seeking professional help. A mental health professional such as a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or marriage & family therapist can offer you objective exploration and assessment of your problems.

Parents of a child with attention deficit disorder are about twice as likely as other parents to divorce by the time their child is eight years old, says a new study.
Having a child with ADHD isn't the sole predictor of divorce  But a child's disruptive behaviors, along with other stresses, can strain a marriage.
Whether the issue involves  medicating a child, how to discipline or some other factor, you can take steps to rebuild your relationship and strengthen the family bond.

Research Shows That Therapy Should be the First Option When Treating ADHD
August 22nd, 2008
When parents learn that their child has ADHD,  medication is often the first treatment they consider. According to new findings that could be a mistake - that is according to researchers, presenting at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention, based on the largest-ever study on the best treatments for ADHD. Research shows that when children are initially treated with behavioral interventions — and their parents get training on how to manage their behavior — medication is used less often and in smaller doses. While medications address ADHD symptoms like restlessness and fidgeting, they don’t address other problems like difficult relations with peers, parents and family members. In counseling, a therapist can help children with ADHD learn to feel better about themselves. Over time the therapist can help identify and build on their strengths, cope with daily problems, and learn to control their attention and aggression. The parents may need special help to develop techniques for managing the patterns of behavior. In many cases the entire family may benefit. Mental health professionals can counsel the child and the family, helping them to develop healthy new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.

Giftedness - Signs in Very Young Children:

The truth is that gifted traits show up in toddlers. In fact, some of them can be seen even in infants!
Examine the following list and see how many characteristics apply to your young child. Keep in mind that to be gifted a child need not have every one of these characteristics.
Traits in Young Children:
  1. As infants, may get fussy if facing one direction for too long
  2. As infants, appear alert
  3. Need less sleep, even as infants
  4. Frequently reach 'milestones' such as walking and first speech earlier than average
  5. May speak late, but then speak in complete sentences
  6. Strong desire to explore, investigate, and master the environment (opens up cabinets, takes things apart)
  7. Toys and games mastered early, then discarded
  8. Very active (but activity with a purpose, not to be confused with ADHD)
  9. Can distinguish between reality and fantasy (questions about Santa or the tooth fairy come very early!)
Highly gifted toddlers may also show an intense interest in numbers or letters. These are often the children who start doing simple math or teach themselves to read by the time they are three. However, a child who does not read or do math early may still be gifted. Children who read or do math early are almost certainly gifted, but not all gifted children do those things early.
Studies of gifted infants (those who score high on IQ tests as grade school children) show that they have a low tolerance for the familiar and a preference for novelty. Basically, infants were shown different objects for a certain amount of time. Those infants who later were shown to be gifted children looked away from objects more quickly than other infants. When shown a familiar object and a new one, the gifted infants preferred to look at the new one.
This is interesting since it supports the idea that gifted children need new information to learn, that they get bored with the same old information day after day. Their frustration at having to learn and "relearn" the same information is due to this apparently inborn need for novelty and not to their being spoiled, "hyper" or inattentive, as many people misinterpret.
Unfortunately - Well-meaning, but unaware or unprepared teachers and parents can actually pathologize the gifted child with labels such as hyperactive, inattentive, ADHD and Oppositonal (if child becomes extremely discouraged and frustrated).  These labels can have the quality of self-fulfilling prophecies.
It is also very common for gifted children to possess traits of disability or immaturity due to a phenomenon known as asynchronis development - wherein the child may be highly advanced in particular areas and delayed in others.  For example, verbal and math skills may be high, but physical coordination may lag.  Social development may be different from peers due to a larger vocabulary or different interests.
It is extremely easy to misdiagnose a gifted child since the primary accepted diagnostic tool is a behavioral check-list which, when filled out by unaware teachers and confused parents is highly subjective.
Through counseling, Jenny can provide assessments to get a clear picture of the gifted child's areas of strength and challenge, and provide support in the form of a global plan for strengthening educational, social and physical development.  Gifted children can provide so much joy to parents' lives!  But it is often as difficult to raise a gifted child as it is to raise a child with disabilities.

Suggested Reading: The Mislabeled Child, by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide;
Guiding the Gifted Child by George Thomas and Joseph Cresimbeni