WHAT IS CHILD PSYCHOTHERAPY?
A child psychotherapist is a highly trained specialist who provides support to children and young people, up to the age of 25, who have more complex mental health difficulties. Using a child psychotherapy approach they use specialist techniques to look at the child/young person’s thought processes and how these have been impacted by past events and are now contributing to current difficulties.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Our experienced Child Psychotherapists are skilled at helping children and young people deal with a wide range of issues. It can be particularly helpful for children/ young people whose difficulties have been going on for a long time and are more severe. It can also be helpful when it is not very clear what is causing the child/young persons distress. Some of the signs that a child/young person may need psychotherapy are:
- Changes in mood that are different from normal childhood fluctuations
- Excessive worrying
- Loss of confidence
- Self harm
- Isolating themselves from family and friends
- Becoming more dependant upon parents/caregiver
- Behaviour is becoming more challenging
- Increased irritability and anger
- ‘Melt downs’
INVEST IN YOURSELF AND YOUR WELLBEING
HOW DOES CHILD PSYCHOTHERAPY WORK?
At Select Psychology, our Child Psychotherapists may work with the child/young person on their own, or alongside other family members/caregivers. The Psychotherapist will use a range of specialist techniques including play, drawing and open conversations to help make sense of their feelings and understand what the underlying causes are behind difficult emotions and behaviours. These emotions will often seem extreme to those around them and can cause difficulties in all areas of the young person’s life.
By understanding what is happening for them, the child/young person can then work towards finding a way expressing difficult emotions in a more manageable way, leading to a calmer, happier version of themselves.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CHILD PSYCHOTHERAPY?
- Reduced anxiety
- More able to concentrate and learn
- More resilient to deal with day-to-day stressors
- Better at managing relationships at home and school
- Help them to heal from difficult experiences
What can I do to help my child?
- Be available – listen to what they are saying and value it it as their reality.
- Spend time with your child doing fun activities and keep an open dialogue – children will often open up more when they don’t feel under pressure to talk
- Keep to positive routines such as regular bedtimes, healthy meals, plan in downtime with the family
- Involve them with the decision making around how to manage their difficulties
- Find a therapist your child feels comfortable with
How involved will I be in my child's therapy?
There are many factors that will influence this question, Generally the younger the child the more you will be involved, however, as a parent you are one of the main sources of information and, particularly at the assessment stage, this knowledge is vital in helping to understand the difficulties your child/young person is presenting with. For older children/teenagers it may be that they would value a safe space to be able to talk in confidence and information shared at these one to one sessions will remain private, however a more general conversation to help you to understand how you can best support your child/young person can be invaluable to helping them to get the best outcome from therapy.
What can I do if my child doesn't want to come to therapy?
It is natural for a child/young person to have some questions about starting therapy, and some may be completely opposed to it. It is important to give them time and space to get used to the idea. Involve them in the decision making when choosing a therapist and help them to think about what they would like to change that therapy could help with.
Ultimately if you child/young person is set against therapy they should not be forced to come, but there can be value in you attending sessions as parents and working with the therapist to think about how you can support your child/young person with the difficulties they are facing.