Counseling with children looks a bit different. Children are not at the cognitive, emotional, or social developmental stages of being capable of explaining what might be upsetting them or triggering problem behaviors. Unlike working with adults, children often are not sure why they are mad or sad, and likely are not sure how to identify the feelings that they are experiencing.
Because of these reasons, my approach with child therapy is different than working with adults. For starters, I play games, utilize toys, and art supplies to develop a safe environment where positive change can be made while making the time spent together fun. It is most important that a child feels safe and comfortable working with me before issues can truly be addressed. Working with a child can also take some time before they open up and share meaningful information.
If you take a stance that therapy is more of a fun activity, a child is more likely to perceive it as one. Giving the impression that they are broken and need to be fixed or have done something wrong and need punishment will not be conducive for therapy.
Sometimes family therapy may be more beneficial than just working with the child alone. For example, behavior problems of a child can be helpful to address with the whole family so parents and siblings know how to handle those issues outside of session and to promote a more lasting positive change. This of course will vary from child to child and family to family.
I work with children as young as 8 years old, unless they are part of a family unit for family counseling.
Common issues that can be addressed with children in counseling (not limited to):
• Behavioral issues
• Changes within the family (divorce, death, addition of a sibling, etc.)
• Eating Issues
• Overly emotional
• Peer pressure
• School conflicts
• Sibling rivalry
• Social skills