Anyone Know a REALLY GREAT Child Psychologist?

Updated on April 08, 2007
S.P. asks from Overland Park, KS
5 answers

We have an 11 year old (step)son who is habitually angry. We are pretty sure he became this way because of divorce guilt, and everyone bending over backwards to placate him when he got angry. However divorce is long over (3 years), relations are good between mom & dad, generally all kids are doing well in school, have friends, etc. We think it's just become habitual for him because it was so successful at getting him his way.

Now, we're trying really hard not to enable this habit. We reward his good and even "normal" behavior, and keep our own emotions in check when he starts up, cooly laying out the choices he has, and the consequences. We are getting much better and if nothing else, we feel better about our own behavior because of this plan. We don't expect miracles to happen overnight.

However, the one thing that really bothers me about all this - and makes me wonder whether there's something else going on that behavioral approaches can't get at - is that his mood can be shattered on a dime. He can be having the best time all day, but if something doesn't go his way, it's over for the rest of the day - or at least for hours and hours. For example, if he's playing a game and he expects to win but doesn't - BAM! And his mood will then destroy his own day (and everyone else's, if we let it.) He just cannot "go with the flow." Minor things aren't just emotional blips on an otherwise good radar. They are major emotional obstacles.

My own brother was an angry child, and although I love him dearly, today he's a depressed, introverted and sullen man. I worry about this happening to our son. I am ready to talk to a child psychologist, but I know some are better than others. If anyone knows of a psychologist who does well with boys this age, and has helped someone through an anger problem successfully, or who you just swear by because they understand kids and family relatioships so well, I'd really appreciate the name. We're in south Overland Park, but I'd travel for excellent advice. THANK YOU!

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So What Happened?

Weird... I went to see Alan Gonsher... who told me after fifteen minutes that the situation is a "cesspool" and that I obviously was having trouble getting out of the relationship but that is what I should do (paraphrasing). It did not seem to matter that we wanted advice to help us fix our issues. I was very put off by him calling the situation with my stepson a "cesspool," however difficult the problems are with his dad, the ex-wife, etc. Anyway, I finally found a counselor named Tom Scott who has a practice specializing in kids with anger-management problems, ADD, ADHD and other emotional issues. He was much more sympathetic and eager to help us bring our family around to a better way of handling problems.

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on


Depression, in children, often comes out in anger (it is not what we think of, in terms of depression, in adults). Does he use any coping skills? Is the anger only at home, or is it also happening in school?I myself am a Child and Family therapist and know several others, as well.

A. L

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answers from Kansas City on

I highly recommend Molly Witker. She is a family therapist. You can read about her at She is really gifted with children.

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answers from Kansas City on

Hi S.,

Children's Mercy Hospital also has a Behavioral department. Since you are in OP, there is Children's Mercy South 435 and Nall.

Take Care,
F. M.
Olathe, KS

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answers from Kansas City on

My 8 yr old son sees Allan Gonsher in Overland Park. He has made a huge difference. Phone number is ###-###-####, although I'm sure that will be changing, as he is moving offices to 95th & Metcalf. He is actually from Omaha, but spends half the week here in KC.

Children's Mercy has an unbearable wait time to see someone.

Marillac is a pediatric psychiatric hospital that you can call if you are in crisis. My niece was just there a couple weeks ago, and it seems like a wonderful place. They are just east of 127th & Antioch.

If you are looking for someone to help you determine if there is an underlying psychiatric disorder, you will need to see a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. Psychologists/therapists do not write prescriptions. The psychiatrist we see is actually a nurse practitioner, but we really like her. Her name is Nancy Pierce and she is also at the above number. She sees both my 8yr old and my 11 yr old son, as well as myself.

Another option is to call the Johnson County Health Dept. They also offer services and referrals, although we have not taken as much advantage of this as we should.

It does sound like there could be something underlying with the sudden shifts. Also, don't forget he's hitting puberty and some moodswings are to be expected.

Good Luck!!

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answers from Kansas City on

This is where we went with my four year old and there was immediate change. I highly recommend this place. It's up north and would be quite a drive for you though. IF you don't find anyone else, I would recommend this place.

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