"A person's a person no matter how small." — Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
Children sometimes experience difficulty in their lives, just like adults. They often lack skills, insight and a developmental level that would allow them to overcome whatever is affecting them. Children and adolescents are still learning how to develop their verbal abilities and communication.
Children can experience depression, mood swings and anxiety, much like adults. However, signs often manifest differently in children than in adults. A child friendly professional is one who recognizes what these signs mean for a child or teen.
Psychotherapy for children and adolescents mandates more creative forms of therapy outside of traditional ‘talk’ therapy. While talking may be appropriate for some instances, other methods of communication are far more effective with children and adolescents, who are not simply little adults.
A therapist with focused experience working with children and adolescents use their knowledge of human development to work with the child on an appropriate level. Other means of communication are necessary in order to hear the needs of the child, including play, pretending and art.
With therapy, children may learn more effective ways of communicating feelings, how to manage their negative emotions or to improve their relationships with others.
Play therapy is a method of therapy that has become widely popular as an effective therapy method for children. Children are able to honestly express and represent their feelings through play.
Play therapy uses specific techniques and toys that are carefully chosen for the therapy session. In addition, play therapists undergo training and supervision leading to a specific certification in play therapy.
During the first therapy session, a licensed clinician will meet with you, the caregiver, as well as the child. The caregiver will be asked to provide background information on the child and family as well as assess the need for psychotherapy. Goals for therapy will be set by the family and child.
Parents should ask the following questions about psychotherapy:
Whyis psychotherapy being recommended?
What results can I expect?
How long will my child be involved in therapy?
Will the therapist be meeting with just my child or with the entire family?
How much do psychotherapy sessions cost?
How will we (the parents) be informed about our child's progress and how can we help?
How soon can we expect to see some changes?
Excerpts from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry