Pleasanton Office:

91 W Neal St.

Pleasanton, CA 94566

Phone: (925) 963-8835

Fax: (855) 834-5419

E-Mail:  lisatangphd@drlisatang.com

Emotional ups and downs are a natural part of the developmental process and children will struggle and make mistakes.  Though upsetting and sometimes concerning for the on-looking parent, these struggles can be instructive. From mistakes and set-backs, one (and their parents) can find better ways to deal with problems the next time. Sometimes, however, emotions can become overwhelming, stifling growth and causing concerning behaviors and great emotional pains. Other times, a traumatic experience can derail healthy development. When there is too much stress to bear, a child may lash out at others or turn their negative emotions inward. Children may develop maladaptive coping skills that result in destructive ways of thinking and behaving. Without appropriate outlets, emotions can even manifest in physical ways, including stomach aches and headaches. Although most children, with the support and understanding of their parents, can navigate through typical life difficulties just fine, some children continue to struggle and require additional support.  

My approach is grounded in evidence-based practices in psychology, meaning that I draw from research about treatments that work, clinical expertise from work with children with a wide array of difficulties, and consider the individual needs and and cultural background of clients whom I work with. I integrate a variety of therapeutic approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), play therapy, psychodynamic (insight-oriented), mindfulness, and dialectical behavioral approaches.

As a child psychologist, my role is to work together with parents to understand the difficulties their children or teenagers experience. This may be through serving as a consultant to parents where I offer a fresh perspective. The best approach may also be for me to work directly and individually with a child or teenager to help them understand their struggles and work out ways to overcome their difficulties. I have experience adjusting interventions, whether they be play therapy or talk therapy, to be developmentally appropriate to children with intellectual deficits. Many of my colleagues do not believe that talk therapies, or even play therapy, can be successful with children with intellectual deficits. I disagree and have found that, like every other child, these children can thrive in the same kinds of evidence-based therapies  as other children when delivered in a respectful manner and mode that is appropriate to their developmental needs. 

Something else that you should know about my approach is that, especially with young children, I find that a team approach is most successful. I view myself as a member of a child's support team, consisting of you (the parents), and other providers in your child's community (pediatrician, teacher, other therapists). With your permission, I would work together with your child's other team members in the community. I will make myself available for meetings with you and your child's other providers. If your child is experiencing difficulties in the school setting, I can be available to work with teachers to develop supports for your child at school to promote his / her ability to be successful in that environment.  

Conditions I Treat:

The following are examples of conditions that I have experience treating in children / adolescents:

•  depression

•  anxiety

•  obsessive compulsive disorder 

•  post-traumatic stress disorder

•  behavioral problems (aggression, lying, oppositional behavior, stealing)

•  attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 

•  bipolar disorder

•  schizophrenia / psychosis

•  self-injurious behavior 

•  high functioning autism / Asperger's Disorder

I also have a background in pediatric psychology (working with children in a medical setting with physical health problems). When children have a medical condition, the condition and it’s treatment can be very disruptive to normal developmental process. Their illness can lead them to feel different from their peers, which too often is interpreted as there being something wrong with them. This experience of being "different" from one's peers can be incredibly painful and disorienting for a child. Doctors appointments and treatments often result in missing school and other fun things that children without medical problems get to do. The medical condition may in and of itself cause problems with mobility, intellectual development, or other functions.  Research has shown that children with medical problems are at increased risk for developing secondary mental health problems and learning problems.  I have experience working with children with a variety of medical problems, including cancer, intellectual disability, chronic pain, and organ failure in helping them adjust to their condition and find ways to improve and meet their potential to live fulfilling lives.