As the name indicates, child and adolescent therapy are simply those modes of therapy that are suitable for helping children mitigate various situations that are challenging, traumatic, or might otherwise give rise to psychological conditions or mental illness. These conditions might be biological, developmental, or social. Often, the best choice for therapy cannot be determined until the mental health provider has made a thorough assessment of the child’s condition, which may require a psychological evaluation. Assuming the diagnosis is accurate, a skilled provider can recommend one or more strategies for treating the condition.
This is not a simple question. Some children are candid about the challenges they face. However, not many understand how to describe the nature of the problem using words that are easy for adults to understand. The main question is: Is the child affected by something temporary, which they have the ability to address and/or process? Or is this an ongoing problem that they have no solution for? The answer might not come easily. As a parent, you may need to ask some specific questions to draw your child out, and then follow up later to see how they are handling it.
The more difficult cases occur when the child is not forthcoming about what they are experiencing. Children keep their problems to themselves for any number of reasons. Some don’t trust their primary caregiver(s). Some believe that they must handle their own problems, perhaps because they don’t want to be a burden to others, or perhaps they believe that people who depend on others are weak. Other children deceive themselves, thinking that they have everything under control. Others experience dysfunction so much that they can come to see it as normal.
When parents take the time to build a high level of trust with their children, it goes a long way to helping them open up about whatever is on their heart. Trust, forged through acts of love, is a key ingredient for helping children to be able to process stressful situations on their own. So by building trust, your child may be able to avoid situations they might otherwise need help dealing with.
The best advice for parents is: If you have any concerns about whether or not your child is going through something that is challenging them on a psychological, emotional, or spiritual level, take your child to a qualified mental health provider and ask them to perform a psychological evaluation. Perhaps it sounds daunting, but honestly it’s no big deal. It’s just a therapist sitting with your child and asking some questions.
Each kind of therapy works in a different way. How much therapy your child needs and how often they will need it depends on the therapist, the method, and your child. If you have concerns about the type of therapy you want for your child, talk to your provider. He or she should validate those concerns, and help you make a decision in the best interest of the child.
Therapists have a number of different strategies for helping children and adolescents unpack and explore the challenges in their lives. Although this is not a complete list, these are a few of the different types of therapy available. If you are interested in learning more about these methods, or one that is not listed, give your local Essential Care office a call. We will be happy to answer your questions.
This method encourages children and teens to acknowledge and accept their own inner emotions. By helping them understand how and why they feel emotions, therapists can empower them to be less reactive and more present during conflicts, which should enable them to make better choices and enjoy more positive moods.
In some cases, play scenarios enable a child to open up in ways that they otherwise would not be able to. Toys, drawings, and puppets are all tools that help the child to express their inner thoughts and feelings. This technique gives the therapist and parent(s) critical information for crafting a solution.
When older teens exhibit signs of depression, suicide, or borderline personality disorder, this strategy can help them by getting them to take responsibility for their feelings. Individual and group therapy are often used to help the teen see how their own choices are shaping their worldview and emotional landscape, and thus promoting dysfunction. If they can make this connection, the goal of therapy is to help them take better care of their own emotional state through better thinking and choices.
Similar to dialectical behavior therapy, CBT emphasizes showing the child or teen how their own thoughts govern their actions and moods. By making a conscious decision to focus on more positive things, the child will be able to have better moods and make better choices.
Psychodynamic models focus on the internal workings of the patient’s mind. Using this strategy with your children should help you understand how and why they respond the way they do to internal conflicts and struggles.
In some cases, children wrestle with a problem born from a family dynamic that must be explored. When the rest of the family members are willing to meet together and discuss their household in a civil and objective manner, it shows the child a willingness to work through problems and make things right. That’s half the battle in empowering them to manage their condition.
In group therapy, a group of patients dealing with similar issues meet at regular intervals in a discussion lead by a therapist. Children benefit immensely from knowing that they are not alone in what they are facing, and can grow socially when facing it together. In many cases, this is enough to help them manage their condition on their own, if not transcend it altogether.
More of a short-term strategy, this technique aims to frame conflict with respect to an interpersonal dynamic. By understanding how the interpersonal conflict affects the child’s emotional state, the therapist hopes to empower the child to make better choices in his or her relationships, and thus enjoy a happier, more successful life.
The professionals at Essential Care NJ have plenty of experience helping children and adolescents overcome all manner of mental health issues. We are well-versed in all the various methods used to treat children, and we always make sure that our first step is building trust and rapport with you and your children. Our core values are fairness, integrity, and honesty, and they enable us to pursue our purpose. Our purpose is to provide accessible, holistic, patient-centered care that enables our patients to lead stress-free, healthy lives. Our number one priority is your children’s well-being, and we work hard to bring you and them the peace of mind you are looking for.
Essential Care NJ is a network of clinics that specialize in providing mental health and addiction recovery services for anyone who suffers. If you are not local, we can still help you via our online telehealth services. If you think your child might be suffering from a situation or condition that is affecting them mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, visit the location finder on this website, and reach out to the provider nearest you.
Some parents are slow to bring a child to a therapist, because they believe that their parenting should be good enough to equip their child to face life. If you are attentive and caring, then you are probably right – most of the time. However, even the best of us have blind spots, and sometimes it takes a professional eye to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Even if we discover nothing serious, you can have peace of mind, knowing that you made sure. But if there is a genuine need for services, not only will you become aware of it by paying us a visit, you will also gain a number of useful strategies for treatment. For a parent, that kind of help is worth anything.