Child and Teen Therapy
Children of all ages, including preschool, elementary, middle-school and high-school all seen to have their own level of difficulty for parents and care givers. Parents are not given an instruction manual when their kids are born, and they constantly worry about doing the right thing and making the right choices about how their children grow, develop and interact with the world.
Sometimes parents and family members are facing issues with their child that they don’t know how to handle, and it can pull a family apart if not addressed. Many children and teens stumble along the way, and individual or family therapy or counseling can successfully address these issues.
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No child deserves to feel anxiety, depression, anger, low self-esteem, or that they will not succeed in school or with their friends. Counseling service for this young age group is usually focused on the parent or caregiver-child relationship. At this age, the goal is to assist children in counseling to find ways to increase their successes, improve their self-esteem, identify strengths, and help them become more successful in managing their feelings and ability to solve problems.
If you are a parent of a teenager, you understand and experience the unique set of experiences occurring in this challenging stage of their lives. Being a pre-teen or teenager isn’t easy. It’s often the most difficult time in their lives. It is not uncommon for depression, anxiety, anger, relationship issues and school problems to arise during this time. Teenagers don’t understand what is happening or why they are acting this way, and often feel alone, misunderstood and isolated.
With all of this going on in a teenager’s life, it isn’t uncommon for them to try out different roles and masks to see what fits as they begin to define themselves as adults. These different roles can cause your teenager to experiment with new friends, clothes, hair styles, music, sexuality and religion. This period of time marks the beginning of significant emotional, biological, social, and intellectual changes within themselves.
For parents this can be a very frustrating period, as they don’t understand why their beautifully minded child is challenging them at every turn! It can be an exhausting time for parents as they deal with their child’s constant mood changes, testing boundaries, withdrawal, and constant arguments.
How is child and teen counseling handled?
Bringing a child or teen into therapy or counseling is a big decision for any parent, but if you educate yourself on the process, and understand what will happen in the sessions, it will help put your mind at ease that you made the right decision.
Child or teen (adolescent) therapy or counseling can involve just the child or teenager, it can be one parent and the child, both parents and other caregivers. It also can be handled in a total family setting where all family members are involved in family therapy.
The First Meeting
Typically the first meeting is with the child’s parents or caregivers, and the therapist will discuss the background of the situation and to a complete screening on what is occurring within the family. After that is handled, a second session is scheduled with the child and parent, with the goal of making the child comfortable so they can meet with the therapist alone.
The type of therapy or approach the clinician uses will depend on your child’s age, temperament, needs and individual situation. One of the main goals for the therapist is to develop trust with the child, so they will eventually open up about their feelings.
Child therapy can address any number of concerns and issues, from relationship conflicts within the family, behavioral problems at home, school or social activities … and can address anxiety and depression issues that can cause mood swings.
Are parents involved in therapy?
As we explained in the previous paragraph, parent’s involvement in their child or teen’s therapy will be dependent on the age of the child or teen, and the family’s specific situation. Depending on the situation, therapy can involve one parent, both parents, a care giver and the child on their own. Typically young children will have a parent involved, and older children and teens will have individual sessions, with the parent being informed or involved as it progresses.
What is the goal of child or adolescent counseling?
The goal is to assist the child or teenager in developing a strong sense of identity that is rooted in honesty, respect, compassion and self-responsibility. This is accomplished by working with the child to help them learn how to express emotions, increase their self-confidence, improve communication with family members, define their values and roles, establish boundaries and gain skills to set them up for success at home, in school and in social situations.
As parents, or care givers you play a vital role in any type of therapy or counseling services you choose. You know your child better than anyone, and taking a family or team approach in the care of your child is the absolute best way to help them, you and the entire family.
At Midwest Center For Personal & Family Development we have over 20 therapists across all 4 Twin Cities locations that provide care to your children and teenagers. Our providers are experienced with all age groups, and a few of the issues we address include: