Dr. Karen Pavlidis
Dr. Karen Pavlidis

With almost 20 years of private-practice experience, child psychologist Dr. Karen Pavlidis has opened a new clinic in Madison Park.

Pavlidis’ new clinic, Child & Teen Solutions, specializes in treating children and adolescents and offers a variety of services, including online therapy, parenting services, children and teen therapy and evaluation and young adult therapy.

Pavlidis is a licensed child psychologist. She has had a private practice in Capitol Hill for the past 20 years. She received her Ph.D. in child clinical psychology from the University of Washington and completed her child clinical predoctoral internship at Stanford University School of Medicine.

 Pavlidis said she opened her clinic in Madison Park so she can serve more people.

“For as long as I’ve been practicing, Seattle’s demand for child and adolescents’ providers has always been exceeding the availability,” Pavlidis said. “I was tired of turning people away who wanted help for their child, so I expanded what I had to offer.”

Because of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay healthy” order, Pavlidis’ clinic is only offering online therapy sessions for the time being.

“Many people have concerns about the effectiveness of online therapy,” Pavlidis said. “There are studies that show online therapy sessions are equally effective compared to face-to-face sessions.” 

In 2018, a study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorder said that online cognitive behavioral therapy is “effective, acceptable, and practical health care.” The study analyzed two groups of people who were diagnosed with major psychological concerns. One group of patients received online therapy, and the control group followed normal care procedures. It compared the patients’ results, and indicated online cognitive behavioral therapy is equally as effective as face-to-face treatment.  

Pavlidis strongly believes in parental involvement during a child’s therapy. One-third of Dr. Pavlidis’ patients are parents. Pavlidis finds that for young children, online therapy with the parents is a productive avenue to target the child’s issues. For elementary school-aged children, sessions that are held jointly with the parents maximize their effectiveness.

According to Pavlidis's website, often, teens are more comfortable adapting to the virtual format. The online session provides a sense of privacy for teens and teenagers.  

Pavlidis’s clinic experienced an initial slow down during the beginning of the pandemic, but for the last month, there has been a gradual increase in referrals. Pavlidis said she expected an additional sense of anxiety from her patients because of the virus. Yet, a majority of her patients are struggling with the same mental health problems as they did before the pandemic. 

“It has actually been the same issues as before the pandemic, however, it just got more intense because everybody is at home,” Pavlidis said. “A big reason is that the kids don’t have the structure at school as they usually have, and parents don’t get the break as they usually get.” 

Pavlidis mentioned one way to boost confidence and stay connected during social distancing is to encourage gratitude.

Gratitude can calm people’s minds during stressful conditions, she said. There is evidence showing that expressions of gratitude can calm the amygdala, which is the center in the brain that sets off alarm signals.

Pavlidis recommends creating a gratitude box at home. Each family member can jot down what they are thankful for throughout the week and read them all together at the end of the week.

Unlike physical illness, mental illness can be easily hidden behind a “healthy” body. Pavlidis suggests treating a mental health issue like a cold or fever. Regularly checking in with a mental health provider is crucial, especially during self isolation.

Go to Child & Teen Solutions for more information. People can now make a 10-minute phone appointment to learn about the clinic's services at childandteensolutions.com/contact. Pavladis expects additional health care providers to join her clinic over the summer.