Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents, and Families
Raising a healthy child in today’s complex and stressful world can be daunting. It is not uncommon for children to hit obstacles as they navigate their journey to adulthood. Working effectively with children and adolescents requires an understanding of developmental stages, learning styles, psychobiology, and family systems. It requires an ability and willingness to enter into relationship with the child and to meet her where she is. This might mean playing games, throwing balls, playing with puppets, or playing with a doll house. Play is the medium that small children often use to express what is going on in their lives. Older children often need the safe distraction of a game or a ball in order to be able to approach the bigger issues in their lives. Adolescents are more capable of utilizing traditional talk therapy, but may still need the safety of a game of Nerf basketball. Effective therapists are cognizant of the bigger systems in their clients’ lives. While each child’s needs are different, frequent consultation with parents of young children is a vital part of any treatment plan. Adolescents sometimes require more privacy as they seek to individuate from their parents and consultation is made with the adolescent’s permission and involvement. Family therapy is sometimes indicated as well and the whole family is included in the treatment approach.