Types of Child Counseling

There are several different types of child counseling that might be appropriate for your child.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling that assists with depression, anxiety, and stress. CBT is used to break down negative thought patterns and replace them with positive thoughts. This is done by bringing attention to the negative thoughts, performing exercises to restructure the thoughts, practicing coping and relaxation skills, and stress management.

Psychoanalytic Therapy is also a possibility for your child. Psychoanalytic Therapy is usually not used on young children, but can be appropriate for teenagers. Psychoanalytic Therapy is, more or less, the commonly recognized “talk therapy” that will allow the child counselor to analyze the situation and provide suggestions to change the child’s situation.

Counseling Partners believes in the philosophy that if we can work toward “mental wellness by the age of five, we can have a healthy child for their life”.

Individual Child Counseling is simply a counseling situation in which the child and counselor are one-on-one. This allows the opportunity for the child to be honest with the counselor, forms a stronger foundation of trust, and allows the child to be open without fearing judgment from parents or siblings.

Group Counseling is another option, and might be more appropriate for children who are uncomfortable in a one-on-one situation. Group counseling usually involves meeting with other children who are around the same age as your child, and are addressing similar problems. Together, and with the assistance of a child counselor, they will discuss their problems, problem solve and attempt to resolve their issues, and build social skills, anger management techniques, and stress relief methods in order to alleviate their pressing psychological issue.

Family Counseling is another form of commonly used counseling when working with children. Often, the child’s problem is not isolated just to the child; instead, other members of the family are either contributing to the problem, or being affected by the problem. Family counseling usually involves a mixture of counseling sessions, including some sessions with the child alone and other sessions with some or all of the family. The primary goal of family counseling is to alleviate tension and build effective communication techniques in order to solve problems as a family unit.

Child Play Therapy is a common technique used when working with young children who are either unable to communicate their feelings effectively or just uncomfortable doing so. Play Therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child – play.  Licensed mental health professionals therapeutically use play to help their clients, most often children ages three to 12 years, to better express themselves and resolve their problems.

Child Play Therapy works best when a safe relationship is created between the therapist and client, one in which the latter may freely and naturally express both what pleases and bothers them.

Mental health agencies, schools, hospitals, and private practitioners have utilized Child Play Therapy as a primary intervention or as supportive therapy for:

  • Behavioral problems, such as anger management, grief and loss, divorce and abandonment, and crisis and trauma.
  • Behavioral disorders, such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), autism or pervasive developmental, academic and social developmental, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders.

Research suggests Play Therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process.

Some issues which may cause you to bring your child to play therapy are:

  • Developmental delays such as toilet training issues
  • Difficulty learning
  • Behavioral problems including acting out, anger, violence or frustration, vandalism, theft
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior or teen pregnancy
  • Bed-wetting
  • Eating disorders
  • Significant change in school performance or drop in grades
  • Depression or hopelessness
  • Withdrawing from friends or other social situations
  • Bullying (as the victim or the perpetrator)
  • Lessened interest in activities
  • Sudden changes in appetite
  • Inability to sleep or stay awake
  • Absences from school
  • Mood swings
  • Development of physical complaints, such as headache, stomachache, other aches and pains
  • Stress with school, including text anxiety, bullying, or trouble fitting in
  • Family issues, such a death of a family member or divorce
  • Abuse, trauma, neglect, or dealing with illness of a family member
  • Move, change of schools, or start of middle school, high school, or other change in school