Children, just like adults, can participate and benefit from counseling. Counseling helps children and adolescents learn how to identify causes of their distress, improve skills in asking for help and expressing emotions, and increase problem-solving abilities.
Our approach to child/adolescent counseling is holistic and strength-based. We understand each child/teen is unique. Therefore, we seek to identify and further develop individual strength and growth areas, while reducing distress and increasing coping skills.
Why would I send my child or adolescent to counseling?
Children, just like adults, experience stress. For example, common stressors for children include school and family issues. School stressors may include excessive or difficult homework, test anxiety, peer pressure, bullying, and learning difficulties. Family issues may include parental arguing, divorce, moving homes, new sibling, major illness, death, loss, and transitions.
Furthermore, changes in your child’s behavior (e.g., inattention, arguing, withdrawing) or emotions (e.g. depressed, angry, worried, stress) may be a sign they may need help. Child/adolescent therapy may be a good resource if you notice any big changes.
What is the goal of child/adolescent counseling?
Individualized therapy goals are customized to meet the needs of the child and their family. Overall, our child and adolescent therapy programs have multiple goals. While we work to alleviate symptoms of distress; we also include efforts to improve the child’s social and emotional resources; increase their use of effective communication skills; and strengthen family, community, and peer relationships.
How do you accomplish goals?
We work to create an environment where a child/adolescent feels safe and protected from real or perceived threats to their sense of control. We then work collaboratively with them to identify their areas of distress, examine and express their feelings by growing their emotional vocabulary, and improve positive ways to cope and thrive in their environments.
Do you just talk with my child/adolescent, like in therapy with adults?
Yes and no. In specific, though there is talking involved in the therapy process, child/adolescent therapy incorporates many activities, play and games. It is important for us to engage and interact with the child/adolescent, versus talking at them. Given that the language they are most familiar with at this stage in life is more nonverbal and interactive, this tends to be most effective.
If you are playing games with my child/adolescent, how does that help?
Notably, it can be difficult for children/adolescents to identify the sources of their distress and/or verbally express their feelings. So, instead of forcing the child/adolescent into our adult world of talking, we join them in their world of communication through play and activities. Through the process of play, we work on problem identification, problem solving, and communication skills. The focus is on creating a safe space for the child/adolescent to gain a better understanding of themselves and improve their communication and relationships with family and others.
Are parents/primary caregivers included in the therapy sessions?
Yes! We incorporate others in the therapy process depending on the nature of the problem and the child/adolescent’s environmental resources. Others may include family (e.g., parents, grandparents, siblings), teachers, and caregivers. Consequently, the amount of time and frequency of involvement of others is unique to the child/adolescent and family’s situation. We understand that many parents have questions about their child/adolescent’s therapeutic process and progress. Therefore, we reserve the last few minutes of every session to touch base with parents/caregivers to answer questions and provide updates, as appropriate.
My child/teen’s situation is stressing me (us) out. Is there anything you can do to help?
If you would like to get support with managing the stress associated with supporting your child and/or managing their difficulties, we have multiple clinicians on staff that we can use to meet the unique needs of your family. For example, instead of waiting in the waiting room for your child while they are in their session, we can arrange for you to have an appointment at the same time with another clinician. Furthermore, depending on your family’s unique situation, there may be times where the sessions are combined. Altogether, these are just two examples of options available.
Our services are client-centered. This means we work in collaboration with the child/adolescent and their caregivers to provide therapeutic services that will be effective for their family’s situation. This collaboration is key, as what works for one family may not be the same thing that works for another.
Call to schedule an appointment or if you have questions about how we may be of service. We are here to help!