Counseling with Children & Adolescents
Life presents children and adolescents with many challenges. Sometimes challenges may come in the form of a divorce, loss or illness. Other times, the challenges may be difficulties in making friends, completing homework or following rules. At times, children may need some extra help in working through difficulties and getting back on track.
It can be difficult for parents to know when their child may need some professional help. Things to watch our for are significant and persistent changes in the child's mood, behavior, sleeping or eating habits or school performance that seem to have the child "stuck". If you are unsure, I encourage you to call so that we can discuss your concerns and together determine if your child could benefit from counseling.
Some of the issues that bring children to counseling include:
- trauma and abuse
- grief and loss
- school or academic issues
- difficulties with attention span or impulse control
- disruptive behavior
- separation or divorce
- blended family issues
- chronic illness
- low self esteem
- social skills
- Asperger's syndrome
- conflicts with family members, peers or teachers
Children are usually unable to talk about their thoughts and feelings in counseling as adults do. This is because children often lack the cognitive skills to understand how they feel and the verbal skills to express how they are feeling. However, children do express their feelings and thoughts in play. Play comes so naturally to children that it has been referred to as the "language of the child". So, if we can understand their play, we can better understand the child. Children will also naturally use play to communicate what is troubling them. Play therapy is an approach to therapy that strategically uses the child's natural means of communicating and learning, play, to help him/her express thoughts, feelings and experiences and to work through problems. As play is the child's language, toys become the child's words. In play therapy, carefully, selected toys and activities (concrete objects) become symbols that the child can manipulate in a way as to play out experiences and express their thoughts and feelings about them. The child is then able to resolve issues, try out new solutions and master more helpful ways of behaving, communicating and solving problems. Play therapy is powerful healing and has been proven effective in dealing with many emotional and behavioral issues.
Within the Play Therapy setting, I also incorporate techniques from other counseling theories that may be helpful including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Systems Theory, Solution-Focused Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy and Positive Parenting with a Plan: F.A.M.I.L.Y. Rules.
Parents are the most influential persons in the child's life. As such, they play an important role in their child's treatment. Parents as asked to be committed to actively participating in the counseling process as appropriate and also to be willing to try new ways of doing things. When parents are involved, positive results tend to be achieved more quickly and to be longer lasting.
To schedule an appointment or to discuss any concerns, contact me by phone at (256) 655-6762 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining thing to them."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 'The Little Prince'
"Birds fly, fish swim and children play."