Child Therapy

You just want your child to be happy.

To grow, to flourish, to have friends and do well in school.

You thought you’d have a harmonious home and family life. That you’d be creating such happy memories together.

Yet lately, you’re not so sure your child is doing well, and your home life isn’t all you’d hoped it would be.

You see your child struggling, showing some new behaviors and are wondering, Is this normal? Is this just a phase? Am I imagining this, or is there really a problem? It’s getting a little harder to know…

It’s so hard to watch your child go from the excited, happy kid she used to be to be to one who is withdrawn and quiet. Or one who is increasingly difficult, yelling and throwing things, having temper tantrums. To watch your previously strong, independent, and curious child become increasingly nervous and afraid to try new things.

Changes in behavior in children are incredibly common, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to manage or that parents will necessarily know what to do. When changes occur, you can really feel lost and alone. You might think you’re the only parent whose kid is struggling, or that it means you did something wrong. You feel worried, exhausted, and afraid of what this means and what might be coming next. And more than anything, you wish you had a roadmap on how to proceed. The array of emotions and the difficult choices you face end up being really overwhelming.

child therapy

It’s heartbreaking to watch your child struggle or engage in difficult or confusing behaviors. The fact of the matter is that when a child shows a change in behavior, they are likely dealing with difficulty handling their feelings or emotions about what is going on in their life.

Life changes and stressors that can cause upset emotions and difficult behaviors may include :

  • A recent loss, such as a friend moving away, or illness or death of a pet, friend, or family member
  • School stress, homework difficulties
  • Problems with friends or other relationships
  • Bullying
  • Family conflict, fighting
  • Divorce
  • Health challenges, such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder
  • Low self esteem

The first and most important thing to know is that whatever your child is struggling with, getting the help of an experienced child therapist is a smart move. Just like you’d seek the help of a physician for a medical problem, it’s similarly smart to seek the help of an experienced mental health professional should your child be struggling with new behavior or upset feelings. And doing so will help not only your child but help you as well. Wouldn’t it be great to feel less alone in all this and to have someone guide you along the way?

Child therapy can help you gain insight into what might be going on with your child.

For example, if your child is acting out, refusing to follow directions, or not listening, that may be anxiety, not just a child being oppositional or difficult. You see, your child is trying to communicate something to you, but it may be hard to know just what it is they are trying to say, as she herself doesn’t know how to say it either. No wonder this is all so hard. Yet with the help of a skilled child therapist, you can learn what lies beneath the behavior change and learn how to best help your child, so she can move forward with the skills to be happy, make friends, and find success in school, in life, and in relationships with others.

Some of the common reasons to seek help for your child include:

  • Anxiety
    You child seems to worry a lot, ask for reassurance a lot, or wants things to be perfect or just so. They may be afraid to try new things, and you suspect that their fears, anxieties, and worries are holding them back at school and in relationships. You can learn more about anxiety in children here. The good news is that the earlier you get help for your child, the more effectively they can overcome their anxiety and be free of it as adults.
  • Repetitive behavior or reassurance seeking
    These behaviors could be childhood OCD, which is surprisingly common in children. OCD, especially in kids, is one of the most highly treatable mental health disorders seen in children. Your child really can get better, via a form of therapy known as exposure and response prevention (ERP), which you can learn more about here.
  • Sadness or depression
    Your child may be having difficulty with sadness or feeling overwhelmed by life events. Child therapy can help your child name her feelings and learn to cope with and express these difficult feelings so they don’t become bottled up and result in depression. It’s normal to have negative emotions, and when kids learn how to navigate them, they can learn to also experience joy and fun again. Learn more about sadness and childhood depression here.
  • Difficult behavior
    If you child has temper tantrums, won’t cooperate, has difficulty with transition times, or is aggressive (hits, throws things, or yells), we can help. Child therapy can help your child learn to express his feelings without resorting to challenging behavior. Learn more about our work with difficult behavior in children here. You may also benefit from our three-session Behavior Management Training program for parents, which you can learn about here.
child therapy

Child therapy will help your child :

  • Learn to identify their feelings and emotions
  • Learn tools to regulate their thoughts, feelings and behaviors effectively
  • Learn to communicate their feelings and needs successfully
  • Make positive choices about behavior
  • Gain skills to navigate relationships successfully

Play Therapy

For younger children, we use play therapy and art therapy, which engage the child in activities to expand self-expression and self-awareness. Children don’t always have the ability to say what is stressful or anxiety-producing for them. Play is the natural language of the child, and toys are the words to help them describe what they are feeling and experiencing, allowing the therapist to help the child understand and resolve upset feelings, decrease negative behavior, and be well emotionally and have fun.

Benefits for Everyone

Child therapy can help not only your child but the entire family as well. As a parent, you will gain confidence as you gain the insights, tools, and strategies you need to help your child. And as your child develops more tools to manage her feelings and behaviors, the entire family is likely to experience relief and communicate more effectively and harmoniously.

How It Works

In the first session you are likely to meet with the therapist without your child in order to discuss your concerns and the symptoms and behaviors you are seeing. The child therapist will explore with you the stressors and obstacles your child may be facing and learn about your child’s personality, likes and dislikes. Even in that first session, you are likely to experience relief in knowing that your child’s problems are not unique and that you’re in the hands of someone who knows the steps you can take to improve the situation. Moving forward the child therapist will work with your child alone at times but will also work collaboratively with you regarding how your child is doing and what the next steps are.

Child Therapy Online, Really?

In this era of coronavirus, you’re probably wondering if child therapy sessions done online are really effective. The answer is: Yes, very! Kids enjoy playing games with their therapist that can teach them coping strategies that will help them with anxiety, behavioral issues, or whatever concern brought them into counseling. Our current children in therapy are enjoying the connection and attention provided by their therapist in online sessions; parents are loving the structure–and improvement in behavior–that it provides.

In addition, via filial therapy, we can help you as the parent learn to help your child in a therapeutic way. We also offer parent-child interactive sessions that can improve your parenting and relationship with your child, thereby helping your child with his or her symptoms.

Behavior Management Training Program

If your child is having temper tantrums, won’t accept limits or follow directions, has difficulty with transition times, or shows aggressive behavior, your patience is likely wearing thin and you probably could use some support and guidance. Our three-session behavior management training series is designed to help you regain control and learn effective strategies for managing challenging behaviors. Learn more here.
Give us a call at (630) 269-2886 to learn more. Click here to learn more about online therapy or here to schedule your first session.