When children or adolescents are going through a rough time, such as family troubles or problems in school, they might feel more supported if they talk to a therapist. They may be feeling sad, angry, or overwhelmed by what's been happening at home, school, or with their peer group and need help sorting out their feelings, thoughts, and finding solutions to their problems. This is when therapy can be highly beneficial.
Therapy for children can be a little different than your traditional “talk therapy.” Often this type of approach is much too invasive & uncomfortable. Instead, children and even some adolescents respond well to play therapy. Play therapy is a creative approach to addressing issues that the child/adolescent is struggling with. It may involve use of dramatic play, art, sand tray, use of creative workbooks, games, etc. The use of play fosters a creative, safe, & comfortable environment for children/adolescents to explore their self esteem, work through issues they are struggling with, & learn coping skills to deal with everyday stress.
Therapy for adolescents or teens is often very similar to that of adults in that is often is based primarily in “talking” rather than playing. I have found that often, teens respond well to having someone other than their parents or peer group to work through issues they are struggling with. Adolescence can be a very difficult time for most teens & navigating through the stress of this age can be facilitated by talking to a therapist that can help provide feedback in a nondefensive manner and teach coping strategies to deal with stress.
Minors and Confidentiality
Therapists respect the privacy of their clients and they keep things they're told confidential. A therapist won't tell anyone else — including parents — about what a person discusses in his or her sessions unless that person gives permission. The only exception is if therapists believe their clients may harm themselves, others, or has been a victim of a crime such as child abuse.
If the issue of privacy and confidentiality worries you, be sure to ask your therapist about it during your first meeting. It's important to feel comfortable with your therapist so you can talk openly about your situation.
Warning Signs Your Child Needs Help:
- Anxious or often worried
- Poor concentration or inability to sit still, focus attention
- Sad and hopeless feelings that do not go away
- Angry or crying most of the time
- Overreacting to things
- Declining performance in school
- Unexplained fears
- Suicidal tendencies
- A need to wash, count, or perform certain rituals hundreds of times per day to avoid unsubstantiated danger
- Obsessive dieting/exercise, unexplained weight loss, avoiding food, binging and purging, excessive visits to the bathroom after meals
- Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
- Daydreaming too much and not completing tasks
- Feeling overwhelmed by life
- Hearing voices that cannot be explained
- Setting fires, purposefully killing or hurting animals
- Breaking the law without regard for other people
- Permiscuous behavior
- Drug use