Dr. Catharine Toso

Child and Family Psychotherapist

About Catharine Toso

Catharine Toso has years of experience as a child and family psychotherapist. Both children and adolescents, as well as adults and entire families, have benefited from her careful attention to detail and genuine care about her work. She is also a child custody evaluator, specializing in forensic child custody evaluations. Catharine Toso is involved with conducting mental health assessments for persons who are involved in the legal system. She has been practicing as a child and family therapist since 1995, and has served as a child custody evaluator since 2002.

Education

Catharine Toso began pursuing this field after she realized how much she enjoyed connecting with people, problem solving, listening, and clinical work. She first obtained a B.A. in Psychology in May 1983 from Rosemont College. She continued her education in Philadelphia, at the University of Pennsylvania. There, she earned three degrees: an M.S. in Psychological Services Evaluation, an M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work, and, finally, a D.S.W. in Clinical Social Work.

Dr. Catharine Toso Headshot

Professional Career

Implement This 3 Step Action Plan If You Think Your Child Has Anxiety

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Can your child suffer from anxiety? To many, anxiety is perceived as something that develops over time as the stressors of life begin to build up, not something that occurs in children who are so young. But it is estimated that around 17.1 million children currently have or have had a psychiatric disorder, which is greater than the number of children who have been diagnosed with cancer. If this statistic shows us anything, it’s that the problem of anxiety is not small by any means.

Children who suffer from an any type of anxiety are not exaggerating how they are feeling. The symptoms associated with anxiety in a child can be quite vast, complicated, and have varying levels of severity; the important thing to remember is that you are on your child’s team, and they need to know that you are there to help them push past the anxious thoughts and feelings.

There is an ever-growing need for parents to learn how to identify the signs of anxiety in their child so that they can determine what needs to be done to help them, rather than allowing the symptoms to go untreated.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Know that you’re not a bad parent.

When a child suffers from anxiety, parents can be tempted to feel insufficient in their care for their child. They may feel frustrated that they can’t fix everything for their child. They may become upset, depressed, or frustrated and their hope in their parenting skills may diminish over time. You are not bad at parenting because your child has anxiety.

2. Understand the common symptoms associated with child anxiety.

The one common thread between most children with anxiety is this: verbal expression of their anxiety happens in little to no cases. Children who have anxiety don’t often know how to express themselves. It may come out in tears, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, fits of rage, depressive symptoms, or social issues. The child may not be able to focus in school or remember assignments, have low self-esteem, or eat an increased or decreased amount of food than normal. The child may exclude themselves from active and exciting social activities and may be just as frustrated as you feel about this anxiety.

3. Seek help for your child.

Here are four active things you can do to support and care for your anxious child:

Schedule an appointment with a professional. Visit my website to schedule an appointment at my private practice! The first steps are seeing whether or not your child suffers from an anxiety disorder and, if so, what steps need to be taken in order to care for the child.

Take the screening. If you are concerned your child may have anxiety, take this brief 15-question screening that has been made available from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Explore your resources. Anxiety, to the surprise of many, is common in children and adolescents. There are plenty of resources available to you so that you can learn more about the different types of anxiety, as well as what you can do to help.

Offer positive reinforcement. Children who are praised for their good behavior and encouraged to keep pressing on when things are tough are much more likely to overcome and cope with their anxiety.

There are millions of people who struggle with anxiety in the United States. You are not alone, nor is your child. For more help, schedule an appointment today and begin the process of seeking professional help for your child.

A Parent’s Guide to Raising a More Confident Child

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Most of the time, a child’s confidence stems from learned behaviors of the adults around them. As a parent, the ability to raise a child beaming with poise can become challenging. Along with setting a good example as a parent, here are some tips to help any child feel better in their own skin.

Encouragement, Not Criticism

Whether they win or lose their soccer game, children should always be appreciated for their efforts. Discouraging a defeat or mistake often leads a child to feel a sense of embarrassment – a key factor in lack of confidence. Whenever an attempt at something new is made, the child should receive praise, even if they stumble along the way. Of course, as children age, they seek constructive criticism in areas they want to thrive in. However, at younger stages, consistent encouragement to avoid active embarrassment guides them towards self-assurance.

Trial Without Error

Every new experience in a child’s life should be looked at as a trial, without any assumption of error. Say the child wants to join a ballet class, yet the parent knows difficulties are likely to arise as her child is not very coordinated. Allowing the child to try this new endeavor with no preconceived notions of failing gives them the confidence to walk into the class and start fresh, even if they do end up falling a few times.

It is important to allow your child to discover traits about themselves independently because it gives them the courage to continue exploring new areas of life without having to consult you on whether it would be a good idea or not. Show the child there is no shame in needing to work hard at something because not everything will come naturally to them. Adults make mistakes and struggle with things as well. Be honest with your child and, when possible, attempt to resolve these mistakes in front of the child, as it shares a noteworthy lesson in confidence construction.

Foster Independence

An obvious way to ensure a child is brought up knowing self-worth is allowing them to discover their independence. This doesn’t mean that you should stop monitoring them, but it’s important to give them space to make their own decisions. For example, encourage your toddler to pick their own clothing or choose what’s for dinner one night.

As the child ages, more intricate and important decisions will require parental guidance, but allowing them to seek certain fates on their own will help boost their self-assurance. Mistakes are bound to be made, but treating them as building blocks for learning instills confidence within errors.

Don’t Always Rescue Them

Of course, no parent wants to see their child get hurt, but sometimes letting them problem solve and find a solution without stepping in and completely solving the issue is the right move. Parents.com notes that when a parent constantly rushes to their child’s side to save them, they are likely causing more harm than good and the child thinks they will always need a parent to fight their battles.

It would be hard to find someone who claims raising a child is easy. Do not look for a guide on the “right” and “wrong” ways to raise a child. Every child is different and requires a unique strategy. The great thing about these tips for raising a confident child is that they are adaptable in order to suit the needs of various styles of upbringings!

Catharine Toso’s early professional life was centered on guidance services and camp settings. There, she was able to help children with learning disabilities in relation to the school system and learn about how different systems impact kids in unique ways. Her career path has led her to the perfect combination of these interests and Catharine can continue to help children and adolescents who need her most.

As a child and family therapist, she prefers to employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a viable treatment approach. Working with both young children and adolescents means that she tackles different problems with these two different groups of people. For the former, this means that Catharine Toso works with behavioral, learning, social, and emotional issues. She also helps treat learning or attentional disorders. With adolescents, the issues become more complex. Typically, she helps them overcome anxiety, depression, school and social concerns, as well as family problems.

Catharine Toso really feels that she makes a difference when she helps a patient in the local community get the help they deserve, which ultimately leads them to a better place. Children and adolescents are not often able to recognize when certain issues are interfering with their day-to-day lives, so Catharine emphasizes the importance of monitoring your child’s behavior in an attempt to discern whether or not it is time to seek professional help. For her, it is so rewarding being able to sit down and talk with these children and adolescents in order to work through their problems and provide them with real, tangible solutions that can help them work towards a happier life that they feel they have more control over.

If you were to ask Catharine Toso advice on pursuing a career in her field, she would tell you that the only thing to keep in mind is that this would be an area that you truly love. Her work is a commitment based on personal interests, which leads to a greater sense of purpose and enjoyment. It’s important that you have a true passion for helping others because it makes the more challenging times worth it when you see true results.