Annie Stokesberry, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist who provides marital and family therapy, as well as individual psychotherapy for children, adolescents, and adults. Doctor Annie is a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, and has more than 15 years of experience treating both children and adults in various settings (private practice for more than 12 years), school environments (public and therapeutic day school for approximately 3 years) and inpatient facilities (8 years). Doctor Annie has been providing Play Therapy and Sand Tray Therapy with children for many years after receiving specialized training for both modalities in graduate school.
“It is helpful to have strategies to pursue non-verbal therapeutic processes and interventions because frequently people are either too young developmentally to articulate their internal experiences, or are overwhelmed/over reliant upon defense mechanisms. These individuals are ‘paralyzed’ in their inability to process verbally or communicate emotional content. Using non-verbal methods can significantly reduce stress, perception of being negatively evaluated, need to deny and/or defend emotions, behaviors, or thoughts, thereby, allowing for rapport and non-threatening experience in therapy.”
Doctor Annie is a behavioral specialist and aids parents in devising interventions to help their child respond positively to rules and directions, and with children who may have challenges with peers and academic pursuits. Doctor Annie has extensive specialized training and is considered an expert in the treatment of trauma; helping people of all ages begin to understand and regulate their individual Nervous System after a traumatic experience. She also works with severe emotional behaviors such as bipolar disorder, self-injury and eating disorders
With a specialization in anxiety and trauma (activation), Doctor Annie utilizes Somatic Experiencing techniques to relieve and resolve the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems, and chronic stress. Somatic Experiencing (SE) focuses on bodily (nervous system) sensations and/or response to traumatic event, negative/emotional, or stressful experiences//relationships. SE is profoundly useful in assisting individuals identify bodily sensations/nervous system responses and gain a more thorough understanding regarding how the person becomes “stuck” in the fight, flight, freeze, or collapse mode. Thereby providing opportunity to develop therapeutic interventions to relieve/resolve these seemingly fixated psychological states.
“When working with children, I believe the key to generating effective solutions is understanding the nature and function of the symptom or behavior. It is imperative to work with parents to understand the experience of the child, how the child views his/her difficulties, and how he/she may perceive others’ understanding of them and their behavior.”
“I work to find solutions that factor in the unique qualities of the child and how he/she sees him/herself in the world and in relation to others. I help parents explore alternate ways to work with their child, when it seems everything they have tried has failed. I strive to instill hope.”
Doctor Annie uses a myriad of therapeutic interventions from many psychological theories/paradigms to help match the interventions to the individual’s’ personality, needs, and interests/preferences.
“I know if I can identify and relate to an individuals’ unique characteristics, the therapeutic experience becomes one that is experienced in a less threatening manner.”
This consideration results in many individuals, after seeing several therapists to no avail, feeling more safe and understood in therapy and are less resistant to therapy. Some people are significantly more motivated to participate in therapy and life in general with this dynamic and accompanying ignited hope. This factor also allows a positive experience in a relational interaction which also contributes to a heightened sense of well-being and connectedness, as well as increased cooperation and motivation to learn to develop more healthy strategies to face and manage symptoms and negative emotions.
I support parents through the difficult challenges that accompany raising a sensitive child. When needed I also work with other members of the family and care givers to help others in the child’s life come to a better understanding of how the child thinks and assist these important people in the child’s life by providing support, psychoeducation, and insights related to the child’s perceptions/emotional experiences that may or may not be evident in the child’s externalized communication and/or behavior. I strive to help the child’s supports better understand possible triggers/motivations related to problematic behavior and communication.”
Doctor Annie uses a direct yet supportive approach, depending on the age and personality of the child. She also values considering what interventions have been previously attempted and explore possible reasons why these have not worked.
“I try to match my approach with the personality of the child to gain rapport and meet the goals of therapy.”
“I often tell children that my job is to help them become the happiest kid they can be!”