Children, Teens, Families

​Matthew Morey, MFT, PhD

Matthew Morey, PhD, MFT
Marriage and Family Therapist, #MFC 53254  
626 Balboa Street, San Francisco, California 94118
 (415) 967-2424 

Content copyright 2013 Matthew Morey, MFT, PHD. All rights reserved.

Teens and Middle School Students   

High school and middle school years are times of both tremendous growth and tremendous turmoil. These are critical years in which we sort out ourselves in the world. These years can hold great joy and also sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and a lack of meaningful connection. 

I work with children of these ages to sort out their feelings and expression in the world. I use group work, dialogue, art therapy, and sand play therapy. 

I have led groups with teens and middle schoolers at Spirit Rock, the Bay School, with Stepping Stones Project, and in my private practice. For many years I have been a high school and middle school teacher and tutor in Africa and the United States. I have mentored kids in need and counseled children at various agencies. Whether working in groups or with children individually, I typically use dialogue, mindfulness practices, games, and art therapy to assist children and teens to find their voices and sort out their inner truth. 

Issues I work on with high school and middle school students include: 

  • difficulties with school 
  • authentic personal expression 
  • issues at home 
  • separation or divorce 
  • shy or withdrawn youth 
  • sadness or depression 
  • anxiety and stress 

Children and Families 

Often work with children and teens is best approached through working with the entire family. Each family has unique behaviors and understandings that become part of the landscape of the children’s inner worlds. Healing difficulties for children and teens often involves engaging the family in an exploration of the roles and dynamics that each family has. I integrate work with families and parents into the therapy I do with children and teens. 

Family dynamics are complex. I honor the uniqueness of each family and provide a therapist's perspective in order to see the larger patterns of the family as well as the particulars of each individual. I employ Virginia Satir's family system theory and technique to assist in bringing about a sense of respect, clear boundaries, individual and collective insight, clear communication, and proactive constructive behaviors in the family system.

Therapy with Tutoring

As a former math, science, and humanities teacher and tutor, I offer this service to students who are struggling in middle school or high school. Often the source of academic trouble in school can be found in the social realm. Difficulty with relationships or identity often lead to trouble in the classroom. A sense of alienation and poor grades can create a feedback loop that spirals down to a morass of loneliness and low self-esteem. Kids need a hand up out of this sort of trouble.

Therapeutic tutoring provides a relationship that can both improve grades and encourage authenticity and trust. The therapeutic relationship becomes a place to both talk and study. Better grades provide better self esteem; a place to talk with someone who encourages respect and authenticity provides a basis for inner wisdom, compassion, and relational health.

Additionally the source of trouble in school can often be examined and resolved. Bullying, isolation, learning disabilities, injustice in the classroom and a host of other sources of alienation have been addressed in my work with children around academic and personal struggles at school. Sometimes kids need a place to talk things out, sometimes they need strategy, and sometimes they want to talk with their parents but they don't know how. 

Helping students grow has been my work for 20 years. My training as a therapist allows me to work with teens and middle-schoolers in a more meaningful way than I could as a school teacher. I have great faith in education when it is combined with a positive emotional tone. 

According to modern neuro-biological studies on education, genuine, life-changing education depends on the integration of the cognitive, emotional, and relational aspects of the individual. My work with therapeutic tutoring encourages the synthesis of the whole child in the educational experience. 

I honor the uniqueness of each individual's learning process. I utilize a combination of old-fashioned academics with alternative methods to learning. I also employ mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and visualization to reduce anxiety and depression and encourage insight and well-being in school.