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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Maire

Should I bring my child to therapy?

Reasons why you might bring your child to therapy:


There are a number of reasons why children may need to see a therapist. Experiencing loss or trauma is one of the bigger reasons. It can be hard for children to lose a friend or family member, whether it’s loss due to death or some other circumstance. They may feel confused and likely sad, as well as unsure of how to cope with this loss. Therapy can help a child in that situation to understand and process all of those hard and complicated feelings which they may have.


Child playing with markets and paints.

Trauma is sometimes thought of as something major like the loss of a loved one, but that isn’t necessarily true. Trauma is anything that is deeply distressing and that can affect the long-term mental health of a person. Traumas can include hospitalization or getting sick, witnessing or experiencing physical assault, or living through or near a natural disaster. Traumas can also involve getting injured and not being able to continue with a sport that they were once in and loved. These kinds of events can negatively impact children’s mental health for years if they do not see a therapist who can help them make sense of everything in their life.



Broken pencil on paper for test


Children may also need to see a therapist for reasons that are less serious like misbehaving, or having a diagnosed disorder or learning disability. Many children who struggle with misbehaving are punished more frequently than other children which can negatively impact their self-worth and self-image. Not every child is the same, so no two children can be parented in the same way, even in the same household. This means that children who struggle with behaving can be a challenge for parents who don’t know how to help. With the help of a therapist, parents can work with their child and help them with their behavioral problems while also giving the child the support they need. This can look like the parents coming in to work with their child’s therapist to work on parenting styles, as well as parent-child therapy.


For children who have a learning disability like ADHD it can be hard for them to focus on important things like school. Parents may have to change the ways in which they raise these children to provide them with more consistent support.


Talking to a therapist with experience in these areas can make a world of difference as they recommend how parents help their children with their disabilities and the child can begin learning from the therapist how to manage their disability more effectively. There are also many techniques and interventions, such as play therapy and neurofeedback that are helpful in reducing the distressful symptoms or behaviors.


Benefits of Therapy for Children


Just like with therapy for adults, therapy for children can be very beneficial in helping them learn to manage their mental health. Without help from mental health professionals many adults and children can struggle with their self-worth and negative thinking patterns. Allowing kids to talk to a therapist, who can help them to learn to think more positively, will benefit them for the rest of their lives.


Therapy can also help children to process trauma and other difficulties that they experience in life. Learning from a young age how to care for your mental health is invaluable. The healthy mental habits they set from a young age can stick with them throughout their lives.



Nervous and axious little girl hiding behind her hands


More often than not, children don’t learn a whole lot about their own mental health or ways to cope with stressors in life. Children also sometimes have inherent nervousness about going to therapy. When phrased in the way of therapy being used to help a child process through hard things in life and come out conqueror, the child will come out feeling more empowered and ready to tackle the stressors that naturally come up in life.


How is Child Therapy Different From Adult Therapy?


There are a variety of therapy methods used with children to help them learn about and care for their mental health.


One of the most common methods is play therapy, which involves either playing with toys, role playing, telling stories, or creating something together between the child and therapist. This provides the therapist with an opportunity to talk with the child about whatever is going on in their life, without it feeling intimidating or unnatural.



little boy in playroom for play therapy


Play is the most natural way that children communicate, which, when observed by a trained play therapist, is a far more insightful way of doing therapy with children than simply sitting on a couch and talking. There are times when the therapist will observe the child as they play and analyze how they play with the toys in order to learn about the child’s problems. This provides the therapist with insights and questions that can be brought up to the child to help them talk about, deal with, and heal from those problems.


Another useful kind of therapy is parent-child interaction therapy, which focuses on the relationship between parent and child. During the therapy session the therapist will coach the parent through interacting with their child and help them learn how to parent their child more successfully. This is a great way to learn skills to build up the parent-child relationship, which can be transferred home in between sessions. The parent may learn ways to set boundaries and the child may learn ways to communicate more openly and appropriately with their parent.


For older children and teens supportive therapy is an option which attempts to help them raise their self esteem and analyze their own habits to see how the behaviors they have can be either helpful or unhelpful for their mental health.


Narrative therapy is another helpful type of therapy for older children and teens because there are techniques that allow the child or teen to externalize their emotions and behavioral struggles, giving them the ability to be separate from the problem and learning how to overcome it. This is highly effective because the child and adolescent can visualize what they are dealing with and can more easily think of ways to overcome it.



Little girl reading a book


There are a number of other types of therapy which can be used to help children depending on their situation. Before committing to a specific type of therapy it is best to consult with the therapist and find out what they recommend. It is also very important to find a therapist that specializes in the issue that the parent and/or child wants to target, such as finding one who specializes in working with children and adolescents in specific.


Conclusion


Many children struggle with their mental health and would benefit greatly from seeing a therapist. Taking your child to see a therapist may very well be what is best for them and their mental health. At Xenia Counseling, located in Orem Utah, we have experienced therapists who are very capable of helping your children to become happier and healthier. If you feel that your child may need therapy then consider scheduling an appointment with one of our therapists today at https://www.xeniacounseling.org/schedule.


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