Psychotherapy for children and adolescents is quite different from psychotherapy for adults. Other than adults, children are seldom able to express complex emotions caused by events or their environment. On the up hand again they are very imaginative and are able to act out their emotions through play. For younger children play therapy is therefore often a significant component in helping them. Problems experienced by adolescents are more complex and can often be related to the establishment of identity in this stage of their lives. Adolescents typically experiment with different identities in order to find themselves eventually, and as a result adolescents sometimes engage in harmful activities such as substance abuse. Due to the challenges posed by this stage of life, adolescents are also more at risk than the rest of the population for developing secondary problems such as anxiety and depression.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that demonstrate the value of psychotherapy for children and adolescents. Not only does psychotherapy result in the relief of psychological distress (and disruptive behaviour as well as scholastic performance problems that are commonly associated with psychological distress), psychotherapy often has a lasting effect on the well-being of children and adolescents as they grow and develop into adulthood.
Although psychological help for children and adolescents often take the form of individual sessions with the psychologist, I usually take the time to conduct a thorough assessment of the child. Depending on the age of the child or adolescent, such an assessment includes an interview with parents to obtain as much history about the child or adolescent as possible and to obtain information on the current psychological well-being of the child or adolescent. Depending on the type of problem, information is sometimes also obtained from teachers (with the consent of the parents), especially in cases of disruptive behaviour problems or scholastic performance. Once a thorough assessment has been conducted it is possible to plan the psychological help that a child or adolescent requires and to set goals for therapy. It is also not unusual that psychological intervention to children and adolescents implies help to parents in dealing with their child’s behaviour or problem. Training parents in specific skills with regards to improving the well-being of their child is therefore often an ingredient in helping children and adolescents.
WHO CAN BENEFIT
Problems experienced by children and adolescents range from mild (such as emotional disruption due to a change of school or town or difficulty with concentration) to severe (such as serious conduct problems, suicidal ideation and depression). Some children need help with the divorce or separation of their parents, others may experience learning difficulties while others might have been exposed to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. No matter how big or small the problem, psychotherapy to children and adolescents is a useful tool in helping children and adolescents to improve their emotional well-being and adjustment.
Common reasons for parents to consults with psychologists include the following amongst others:
- Adjustment Following Life Change
- Developmental Concerns
- Scholastic Performance
- Disruptive Behaviour
- Peer Relationships
- Irritability and Aggression
- Self-esteem and Self-Confidence
- Divorce and Separation
- Blended Families
- Attention and Distractibility
- Excessive Activity
- Eating problems
- Abuse (Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Neglect)
- Alcohol and Substance Abuse and Other Addiction Problems
For more information or if you would like to book an appointment please contact me on (021) 919 3666 or email: email@example.com