Just like adults, children need therapy for a variety of different reasons. Mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders develop naturally throughout a person’s life, including during their childhood. These disorders or diagnoses can sometimes leave children wondering why their brains don’t seem to work the same way as their peers. They may feel isolated, confused, or frustrated by the unique problems they are facing as a result of their mental health.
In these cases, therapy provides the child or adolescent with an extra support in learning and understanding the way their brain works.
Additionally, throughout the process of determining their natural patterns and responses, the child or adolescent is also taught social and coping skills, and is given a space where they no longer feel isolated or misunderstood. Although therapy is helpful for children or adolescents with mental health diagnoses, a child or adolescent may benefit from therapy even without any mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders.
Children and adolescents experience trauma, pain, stress, and other challenges – just like adults. The difference between adults and children lies mainly in the coping skills they have. Children and adolescents may experience certain emotions before they have the necessary skills to cope with them. When this happens, these emotions may become overwhelming and seem impossible to recover from. Therapy is a wonderful resource for empowering children and adolescents and teaching them the skills they need to move forward after trauma.
Some explanation of what trauma is can be found here.
How do I know if my child needs therapy?Children and adolescents may not know how to tell us they need help. Often, the way they ask for help (especially in younger children) is through disruptive or uncalled-for behavior. Children and adolescents may not even understand for themselves why they are behaving or acting out at times. If you’re concerned that your child’s behavior may be a cry for help, the most important question to ask is “Does their behavior prevent them from experiencing important parts of their life?” For example, if a child is acting out so much that they cannot attend normal class at school, if a child is withdrawn and unable to participate in family or social activities, or if a child’s temper on the playground leads to isolation because other children are uncomfortable engaging with them – all of these would demonstrate a behavior that is keeping the child from experiencing valuable moments of their childhood and could mean that your child would benefit from therapy.
Some symptoms may require immediate attention. Call a therapist as soon as possible if you notice any of the following behaviors:
- Self-Harm – If a child is hurting themselves, either through cutting, hair-pulling, burning, etc., it is imperative that they get help. Children and adolescents may feel embarrassed if they are caught self-harming and might attempt to explain it away by saying “It was only once.” or by giving another excuse. No matter the reason, self-harm is dangerous and indicates the need for a mental health professional.
- Eating Disorder Behavior – If a child stops eating, starves themself, begins throwing up after eating, or uses laxatives when it is not medically necessary, they may be suffering from an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. These disorders are battled secretly and are often left untreated because of that. If you suspect or know that your child is participating in behaviors that are typical of eating disorders, contact a mental health professional as soon as possible.
What types of therapy are offered for Children and Adolescents?
Our goal as a clinic is to help each client and their family deeply heal and connect with each other.
Our team of qualified therapists are trained to use a variety of different data-driven and evidence-based treatment models. We offer several different types of counseling and therapy for adolescents and children.
In your first call to our office and during your initial meetings with a therapist, we will work with you to determine which of these models fits best with your lifestyle and the symptoms you are experiencing.
A few types of treatment we offer are:
- Child Centered Play Therapy – a form of psychotherapy that uses play to help children deal with emotional and mental health issues.
- Caregiver Involved Therapy – such as PC Care and Parent-Child Interactive Therapy
- Individual Therapy for Youth and Adolescents
- Full Family Therapy
- Intensive Outpatient Programs for Youth and Teens
- Parenting Support and Support Groups