Child & Teen Counselling Luton, Hitchin, Dunstable, Bedfordshire
The idea of child therapy seems unnecessary to many people, but this assumption is unfortunately misguided. Whilst the problems experienced by children may appear minor from an adult perspective, they could still cause significant distress to the child, who won’t have the breadth of experience to know how to deal with things effectively. There are also several behavioural and psychological disorders which can develop in childhood that benefit from psychotherapy. If your child is experiencing issues which may be indicative of a psychological issue or is simply going through a rough patch, finding a suitable counsellor can have significant benefits and help to ensure healthy psychological development.
Determining whether your child is in need of help can be quite challenging. Generally speaking, therapy might be required if a loved one has died, the child has been abused, their parents have divorced, they’ve recently moved house or there has been a major illness. This not an exhaustive list, of course, so it can be helpful to watch for symptoms of problems, such as insomnia, social withdrawal, aggressive behaviour, unusually poor school performance, behavioural issues such as bed-wetting and episodes of depression. In short, if your child is acting extremely angry or is isolated and depressed, he or she may need to talk to a counsellor.
The main difference between therapy for children and for adults is that treatment for children is more related to the future, whereas adults often have to delve into past experiences to understand their issues. Development is of primary concern when dealing with children, because the experiences they have during this critical period will determine the sort of people they become as adults. A child therapist will focus on helping children develop emotional strength, healthy relationships and strong communication skills.
A child therapist also has to be fairly adept at communicating with children on their own level. In some cases, the counsellor will be able to talk to a child as if they were an adult, but the majority of the time the sessions are filled with activities and unstructured play. During this time, the pair communicates through play activities in much the same way children do with their peers. This may seem unusual, but specialists on child behaviour can gain valuable insights using this method.
One of the major benefits of counselling or psychotherapy for children is that they get to explore their issues in positive surroundings. Although it may not be intentional or even existent, a child might perceive criticism in his or her home environment, which can prevent them from exploring and developing their true selves. By providing an unconditionally positive environment in which the child is free to discuss or identify these issues, emotional and psychological development is fostered in child therapy.
There is no specific minimum age for child therapy, but any children below school age should only be considered if they’re consistently behind on key developmental milestones like walking and talking. Any counsellor or therapist who deals with children will be able to help anybody from school age through to teenagers. There are minor differences in the specific issues addressed and the way in which they’re addressed (for example, teens will usually communicate more like adults), but the key characteristics are the same.
If you think that your child is going through a difficult time or is suffering from some type of psychological condition, finding the right help is essential. Determining whether counselling is necessary can be extremely difficult, but we can help you work out your requirements. We’ll make an assessment and then suggest the best options for treatment. You can visit us directly in our Luton offices or contact us over the phone; just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you!