The soul crushing statistic that inspired the creation of Soul Skills; 50% of mental health struggles are established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24. Children’s mental health is often overlooked because it displays so differently than it does in adulthood. Mental health challenges in children are often disguised as “attention-seeking” behaviors or dismissed in hopes the child will grow out of it.
While it is always beneficial to invest in your mental health, the most optimal time is during early childhood and adolescent years. During the first five years of a child’s life, their brain is developing faster than it will at any other point in their development. During adolescence, children develop rational and abstract thinking that either enhances or hinders their ability to build positive relationships and healthily cope with adversity.
Soul Skills was created with the intention of innovating what healing looks like for children and families. Sara Sefret, C.E.O and founder of Soul Skills has done exactly that. Sefret built a multidisciplinary private practice with an unwavering commitment to meeting children where they are at socially, emotionally and developmentally.
After graduating from University of Maryland with a degree in Child Development Psychology, Sara pursued the path of certification as a Child Life Specialist. She spent the first few years of her career working in various children’s hospitals providing diagnosis education, therapeutic activities and bereavement support.
While the experience gained in the clinical setting was invaluable, the rapid burnout rate in the field forced Sefret to re-evaluate and reflect on how her environment impacted her mental health.
Similar to many mental health professionals, Sara embarked on a career that played a pivotal role in her childhood. Sefret authentically shares her experiences with panic attacks and anxiety in hopes of normalizing vulnerability and genuinely connecting with others. After receiving therapy as an adolescent, Sefret was determined to find a way to offer therapeutic support in the most impactful ways to children during such vulnerable and impressionable years. She wanted to create something different; a type of therapeutic support that focuses on transferable skills rather than a diagnosis and prescription.
5 years, 200 clients and 39 states later, Sefret and her team of specialists and therapists have paved the way for a game changing approach to providing long lasting results in a therapeutic setting. Soul Skills supports clients from infancy through early adulthood as they navigate a multitude of adverse or traumatic experiences. The diversity in Soul Skills clientele is a testament to the flexibility/transferability in the skills being taught. The team at Soul Skills support clients experiencing grief, family separation, eating disorders, developmental delays, addiction, relocation, new diagnoses, abuse, anxiety, ADHD, and depression.
Soul Skills differentiates themselves in a competitive field of phenomenal practitioners with three key components; family centered and collaborative care, an exclusive focus on positive coping skills, and an expertise in attachment theory.
Family centered care is built on the foundation that when one family member experiences adversity, the family dynamic as a whole is shifted. It is imperative to offer therapeutic support to those both directly and indirectly impacted by circumstances. This advantageous approach allows for family units as a whole to thrive where all individual needs and emotions are validated and met. The collaborative care that Soul Skills offers extends far beyond the caregivers involved. The team regularly collaborates with other therapeutic modalities including psychiatry, dieticians and occupational therapists to amplify and fast-track results and healing.
An impactful differentiating factor of this practice is the universal core intervention used by all Soul Skills providers; positive coping skills. Sefret recognized that many of her client referrals had experienced long term traditional talk therapy for years with slow or inconsistent progress. Something was missing and Sefret was determined to research and specialize in that niche. The secret sauce of Soul Skills is found within the coping skills that are taught. This approach allows for clients and families to be equipped with a skillset that transcends current adversity and applies to future adversity as well. The innovative and exclusive focus on transferable positive coping skills allows for the team at Soul Skills to discharge clients at a much faster rate than traditional therapy.
All Soul Skills providers receive in-depth training and continuous education in attachment theory. The number one predictor of a resilient adult is a child with secure attachment to a primary caregiver. Understanding the attachment style of both the child and the caregiver allows for specialists and therapists with Soul Skills to individualize intervention to recreate secure attachment. Once this attachment style is re-established, client success rates in a therapeutic setting are amplified due to the client feeling emotionally and physically secure and supported.
Over the last five years, Soul Skills has provided pro bono therapeutic services to over 50 clients. As the practice expands, Sara’s ultimate hope is to offer innovative, impactful and individualized mental health support to children and families regardless of background, upbringing or socio-economic status. Sara’s heart to serve vulnerable youth is evident through her commitment to educating and empowering communities, schools and organizations on a larger scale. The team at Soul Skills frequently hosts webinars, collaborates with multi-disciplinary projects, and will soon be launching an online course helping parents raise resilient and skillful children!
With many talented and passionate providers in the field, Sara always offers a 30 minute complimentary intake call for potential clients and families. This allows for the caregiver to share goals, ask questions, feel connected, and ultimately empowered by their child’s potential provider at Soul Skills. If your child could benefit from the services shared above, request a complimentary call with one of the specialists by filling out the client intake form. To learn more about the providers, mission and values of Soul Skills, head over to their website!