Children struggle with the same issues as adults, though they reveal their issues differently. Your child is unlikely to tell you that he or she needs or wants help. Depending on age, his or her reaction may range from hesitation to refusal. I can help prepare you to introduce the idea of counseling in a constructive way prior to our first session. I have seen therapy benefit every adult and child who undertakes the journey. Counseling is like inviting a friend over to help you clean and organize your home– you get a partner to help you explore and and make sense of what is in your head.
Children often feel responsible for grown-up goings on without the cognitive or emotional maturity to understand and manage the circumstances. It is important for your child to have another trusted person in addition to their parents to help them navigate challenging times. Even when you believe children are not showing symptoms, please seek individualized assistance for children dealing with challenges such as changes to family structure (death, divorce, blending families), academic or social issues at school, specific learning needs, instances of abuse, etc.
How do I know if my child needs a counselor?
A quick web search will yield a variety of helpful opinions that range from going with your gut to assessing your child against specific diagnostic criteria. Here are a few questions:
- Have your child’s moods, social activities, or behaviors changed?
- Is your child demonstrating physical symptoms such as appetite or sleep changes?
- Is your child experiencing academic or social difficulties at home or school?
- Do you feel equipped to help with the specific challenges and will your child let you?
The greatest benefit comes to the younger members of the family when the parents and family are part of the therapeutic process. Parents can expect to collaborate with me on developing family communication skills and lifestyle elements that support the therapeutic goals for their children. I am experienced in play therapy, a format for working with children that allows them to reveal their thought processes and work on solutions in a non-threatening way. I use art, games, sand tray, books, and pretend play to explore your youngster’s inner world and provide experiential, adaptive coping skills.