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Green Leaves

Adoption-Competent Therapy

What is Adoption-Competent Therapy?

​​Adoption-competent therapists understand the unique developmental, emotional, and behavioral issues involved in life for everyone in the community of adoption and foster care, and provide mental health services that acknowledge the complexity of these issues without pathologizing them.

They are well-versed in the different types of adoption, the losses involved for each person, the impact of trauma, the dynamics of openness,  common emotional and behavioral challenges, and difficulties of identity development, among other issues vital to nurturing emotional, psychological, and relational well-being.

Current services with an adoption focus that are offered at Arbor Cove Therapy include:

  • Individual and family therapy for individuals of all ages who are adopted, as well as their biological / first and adoptive family members, focused on:

    • mental health issues

    • grief and loss

    • trauma

    • identity formation and re-formation

    • parenting

    • navigating open adoption relationships  

    • the search and reunion process

  • Parent education based on evidence-informed approaches that are also highly relational such as the Circle of Security Parenting program, TBRI (R) (Trust-Based Relational Intervention), and Conscious Discipline; 

  • Counseling for parents who have made an adoption plan for a child placed and desire counseling for themselves and/or a family member;

  • Mediation between first and adoptive families after adoption when there are challenges related to openness;

  • Support groups related to adoption;

  • Online therapy services in the states where we are licensed to provide telemental health (currently Georgia, Florida, and Virginia); and

  • Workshops/presentations to community organizations across Georgia and nationwide.

At Arbor Cove Therapy, LLC, our professional background includes over 30 years of combined experience working with individuals of all ages who are adopted, as well as their biological and adoptive families. Our clinical experience also extends to foster care, counseling children and adolescents in care along with their foster and biological parents; helping support the reunification of children and their biological family whenever possible through family counseling; and facilitating training and consultation to community organizations. 

Additionally, Kathryn Smith, LCSW, RPT, and Suzanne M. Clark, MS, LPC, have completed the Training for Adoption Competency (TAC), a 12-month-long post-Master's curriculum developed by the Center for Adoption Support and Education. TAC utilizes a combination of classroom instruction, discussion, and clinical consultation to equip mental health professionals to address the mental health needs and concerns of biological parents, adopted people, adoptive parents, and extended family members with multi-dimensional understanding and skill. Suzanne has also been a facilitator for the TAC program, training other mental health and child welfare professionals to be more knowledgable of adoption-related issues. 

Over the years, clients have taught us invaluable lessons about the uniqueness of the journey each person walks through adoption and have equipped us with a depth of compassion and respect for everyone involved.

To learn more about adoption-competent therapy:

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