We have such fun talking to children. They tend to be honest and truly willing to talk about the issues with which they are struggling and find solutions. Children are so very resiliant and strong. They don't have the years of burden and shame and worry and guilt that we adults can have and are, in my experience, able to quickly learn new skills, evaluate options and move forward towards feeling better. Children are brave. Children are vulnerable. Children are curious. Children are confused. Children are eager to learn.
Children often need help understanding their environment, their situations, their feelings and their choices. Getting children into counseling early is a preventative and curative measure that can offer healing in the present and set the tone for them to understand that it's ok to talk about their feelings and ask for help when they need it later. Teaching children to talk about their feelings and understand that they are powerful agents of change can help prevent problems in the future.
Counseling with children refers to a variety of techniques used to help children who are experiencing difficulties with emotions, behaviors and adjustments to new situations. This may include individual child counseling, parenting consultation and family counseling. Playing, drawing, building, pretending and talking are important ways for children to share feelings and resolve problems.
Goals for counseling may be specific, such as a change in behavior, improved family relations, processing a specific trauma. Goals may be more general, such as a need to learn to manage anxiety, learning to be a better friend, improving self esteem or learning more about how to help themselves with balance.
Parents are usually the first to recognize that their child has a problem with emotions or behaviors. The observations of outside resources such as teachers, daycare workers or family, may help parents in their decision to seek treatment for the child. Counseling provides a safe, trusting environment in which the child can express his/her thoughts and feelings and learn new skills to communicate better, manage emotions and create new strategies to help them adjust to new situations.
Some signs that your child may need counseling or evaluation include:
- a fall in school performance
- poor grades
- excessive worry or anxiety or mood swings
- difficulty making or keeping friends
- oppositional and defiant behaviors
- frequent temper tantrums or rages
- persistent nightmares or trouble falling asleep
- aggressive behaviors
- exposure to a traumatic event or major life change
Children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety or Depression need a special kind of support. Education, self regulation, communication skills and self soothing techniques (such as breathing and mindfulness practices, movement, nutrition and grounding practices) are critical for these children to advocate for themselves, to understand themselves and to accept themselves.
You may make an appointment for an "Initial Assessment for your Child" HERE.