Amy L. Schaller, MSW, LICSW
Adoption Savvy Associate
I am passionate about early intervention, working with infants and young children and their caregivers to lay the groundwork for a happy, healthy future. I especially enjoy the creativity, silliness, and spontaneity of little ones. I am a former preschool teacher at a United Nations-affiliated school in New York City. After spending time working with children in orphanages in India and Guatemala, I felt drawn to work with adoptive families. I received a Master of Social Work degree in 2011 from the University of Southern California, where I completed a field placement providing in-home support for family preservation and parent-child bonding. In 2012, I was certified in Therapy with Adoptive and Foster Families from Portland State University. Most recently, I have spent 7 years as an international adoption specialist at Bethany Christian Services. I love supporting families through the home study and post-adoption processes.
Through my years of working with adoptive families, I have seen that even very young children are living ongoing with the effects of trauma. Some children may have behaviors that were adaptive in their previous situation, but not so adaptive in their current family setting. Together we can help your child find balance in the areas of attachment, food, sleep, and emotional regulation. We will explore the needs underlying your child’s behavior and design sessions around those needs. Children also bring many strengths and gifts, and these will be celebrated!
In treatment with your child, we will engage in a variety of fun, playful activities that help to develop a sense of felt safety. I have been trained to use activities based on the principles of Theraplay®. Activities based in this method are simple, fun, and grounded in the present moment, creating a positive parent-child experience and enhancing attunement. They mirror the natural, joyful way a parent interacts with an infant. Activities based on Theraplay are appropriate for children of all developmental levels and verbal abilities. Depending on your child’s needs, we can also incorporate other trauma-focused techniques, or narrative techniques like Lifebooks and bibliotherapy. In parent sessions, we will process how your child is doing at home and how you can best support your child’s growth and healing.