Because children are still growing and developing, we work differently with them than we do with adults. Children’s minds and brains have not yet developed adult structures. They cannot think and talk in ways that more mature individuals can. They have less impulse control than most adults. Children communicate thoughts, feelings, and wishes through behavior before they are able to do so in words.
Children begin to learn by playing. Therefore, play is often a vehicle for child therapy. It allows the therapist to observe and understand the child’s inner world while providing opportunities for the child to express thoughts and feelings, experience the frustration necessary to learn impulse control, and develop the ability to self-reflect.
Young children, ages 0 – 6, may benefit from Child Parent Psychotherapy. In this form of therapy, the child and parent meet with the therapist together. Age appropriate activities are provided, and with the assistance of the therapist, parents can gain greater understanding of their child’s behavior. With this understanding, a parent can assist the child in learning to communicate through words appropriate to the age of the child. This form of therapy is particularly effective for attachment issues. Mrs. Irwin has training and extensive experience in Child Parent Psychotherapy.
Adolescents benefit from psychotherapy in several ways. They gain tools for better communication with family and friends as they try on new ways of interacting with the world. They learn to resolve conflicts, try new solutions to old problems, and they acquire an understanding of emotions and behaviors.
The relationship which develops with the therapist is very important in facilitating these benefits. When a young person feels comfortable and understood, they can more easily express thoughts and feelings and begin to learn new skills. The therapist provides a safe and supportive environment which promotes this expression and the learning which can result from it.
If you’re thinking about asking for help with a child or youth’s behavior, mood changes or mental well-being, consulting a trained psychotherapist can be a good first step. Get in touch, and we can start a conversation about the needs of the children in your life.