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 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 bewildering and sometimes intense emotions of their teenage years. They can also provide a forum for addressing any underlying difficulties a teen 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
- Difficulties processing changes in the family after divorce or remarriage
- Frequent lying or stealing
- Preoccupation with loss
- Withdrawal from family and friends