Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents and Families

Sometimes a parent needs some extra help connecting and bonding with their child. At times the parent’s own experience of being parented may contribute to this difficulty. Therapy can be very helpful. Understanding where your child is developmentally and having appropriate expectations is a great start. Each child comes into the world with his or her own unique biology, temperament, strengths and challenges. A therapist can help you understand your child’s experience of the world while enhancing and strengthening your bond with your child. Some problems require therapy for one parent and child while others may benefit from the whole family being involved. Some children may need their own space in individual therapy to work on issues that may be getting in the way of their development.

Young children don’t usually sit down and tell you what’s going on with them directly, but they do let you know how they are feeling, what they are experiencing, their beliefs, fears and worries through their play. A trained therapist can enter the child’s world through their play and help them to work on their problems, to heal and to grow.

Many therapeutic techniques were designed specifically for children while other therapeutic interventions can be creatively adapted to meet their special needs. For example, a child who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder may benefit from EMDR therapy. To learn more about this treatment please visit the EMDR link of this website. EMDR can be adapted for children by using finger puppets for the bilateral stimulation and a visual game to determine whether or not the distress level has decreased and the when the positive cognition is in place.

Bibliotherapy is another powerful therapeutic tool to help kids deal with all kinds of problems. The idea is that the therapist and child read a therapeutic book picked out specifically with the child’s situation or challenge in mind. The story offers the child the comfort of knowing that he or she is not alone in this kind of struggle. The child gets a glance at how the book’s character learned to overcome and / or deal with their struggle. It is often helpful for the child, depending on their age, to then write their own story, about their own unique experience and how they were able to survive or cope or overcome their challenge. This can also be done with the help of the therapist and may be something that the child would like to keep for himself or even share with other children who are having similar challenges.

These are just a few examples of the kind of things that may go on in child psychotherapy.

Teens often resist therapy initially but then relish in having the undivided attention of an adult and a place to talk about their struggles with school family and peers. This form of therapy may be very similar to what may happen in psychotherapy with adults with some adjustments to meet the young person where they are developmentally. Adolescence can be a turbulent time for anyone and even more so when someone is struggling with mental health issues. Therapy may be as simple as learning assertive communication skills or anger management. Perhaps the young person needs help understanding and accepting one or more learning disabilities and support in becoming their own advocate at school. Therapy may involve learning to deal with and combat depression or anxiety or to heal from one or more traumatic experiences. Adolescents may be a critical time for intervention. Problems that are not dealt with appropriately at this time may go on to cause a lifetime of unhappiness.

I have had many years experience working with children, adolescents and families. Please don’t hesitate to call and schedule a free consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.