Elizabeth Emen, LMHC, LCPC, NCC, earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University, and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont. Liz has experience in a variety of roles providing support and services to families touched by foster care and adoption, including clinical experience providing individual, family/couples and group psychotherapy. In addition to being an Adoption-Competent Therapist, Liz has specialized training and experience around issues of loss and grief, providing trauma recovery and empowerment, counseling multicultural populations, and working with adolescents. Liz incorporates her specialized training to provide therapy that integrates a variety of modalities from a humanistic and strengths based lens, including cognitive behavioral and expressive therapy interventions, Play Therapy, Theraplay, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
Liz provides some guidance to adoptive parents:
Q: “Liz, What is one fundamental piece of advice you can provide for adoptive parents wishing to support their child’s relationship with separated siblings?”
A: “When meeting with parents I first and foremost emphasize the benefit for children when parent’s can validate the importance of their child’s connection with his/her siblings.
Once parents understand how important sibling connections may be to their child, we work to help them communicate to their child that they value sibling connections, even when ongoing contact is limited or not possible. Parents can communicate this in many ways, including by asking about their children’s thoughts and feelings, memories, and hopes in regard to siblings. Some children are not forthcoming about these inner feelings, and may feel the need to demonstrate loyalty to their parents by keeping private their true thoughts and feelings. For this reason, parents can send messages that sibling relationships are important by mentioning siblings as a natural part of conversations, and creating rituals and traditions to honor sibling relationships.
In cases where sibling contact is possible, parents are encouraged to create opportunities for contact and connection. If in person contact is possible, making scheduled face to face visits a priority and consistently having your child attend is key. If face to face visits are not possible, helping your child write a letter, or advocating for an exchange of pictures or telephone communication may be a useful alternative.”