Even children in very loving families can experience emotional difficulties. It can be profoundly distressing to see your child struggle, and not know how to respond, or to try and help, but see them continue to suffer. Fortunately, psychotherapy can help. Since children and adolescents process their experience differently than adults, psychotherapy typically involves some element of play. Therapeutic play offers children a gentle way to process whatever may be upsetting them. By observing a child’s orientation towards play, a therapist can begin to understand and respond to emotional communications from the child that are not always accessible through language. As children become older, therapy may develop to include more conversation or discussion, or the use of art, poetry or drama as tools. These more expressive mediums can help teenager process the often bigger than life feelings children experience in their teen years. They can also provide a forum for addressing any underlying difficulties a child may be experiencing at home, in school or in their relationships with others. The FAQ, Philosophy and How to Select a Therapist pages may also be helpful in answering questions.
If your child is experiencing any of the challenges listed below, it may be a sign that they need additional support.
- Academic or school difficulties
- Anger toward others
- Chronic rebelliousness or disregard for others
- Chronic fear
- Difficulties with peer or sibling relationships
- Difficulties eating or sleeping
- Frequent lying
- Preoccupation with loss