Psychotherapy refers to a variety of techniques and methods used to help children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties with their emotions or behavior. Although there are different types of psychotherapy, each relies on communication as the basic tool for bringing about change in a person’s feelings and behaviors. With children and adolescents, it may be playing, drawing, building, and pretending, as well as talking… all are important ways of sharing feelings and resolving problems.
When meeting with your child or adolescent our therapists will determine the need for psychotherapy. This decision will be based on such things as the child’s current problems, history, level of development, ability to cooperate with treatment, and what interventions are most likely to help with the presenting concerns. Psychotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments (medication, behavior management, or work with the school). The relationship that develops between the therapist and the child is very important. The child or adolescent must feel comfortable, safe, and understood. This type of trusting environment makes it much easier for the child to express his/her thoughts and feelings and to use the therapy in a helpful way.
Our goal is to help children and adolescents in a variety of ways. They will receive emotional support, develop skills to resolve conflicts with people, understand their feelings and problems, and get to try out new solutions to old problems.
Goals for therapy may be specific (change in behavior, improved relations with friends or family), or more general (less anxiety, better self-esteem). The length of therapy depends on the complexity and severity of problems.
Parents should ask the following questions when meeting with the therapist:
- What results can I expect?
- How long will my child be involved in therapy?
- How frequently will the therapist see my child?
- Will the therapist be meeting with just my child or with the entire family?
- How much do the counseling sessions cost?
- How will we (the parents) be informed about our child’s progress and how can we help?
- How soon can we expect to see some changes?