Childhood should be a carefree and easy time. However, children can experience confusion and distress and may benefit from counselling when dealing with issues such as divorce, school transition, grief and developmental difficulties.
Extra support from a parent is in most cases, enough to provide reassurance. But when a parent is finding it difficult to provide adequate support to a child in distress, counselling can assist both the child and the parent.
Because children can feel protective of their parents feeling angry or upset about what they have to say, providing a safe and neutral environment in the care of a counsellor allows a child to communicate everything they may need to share in order to resolve their issues.
When a child may need counselling
Common signs that a child may need counselling include:
- Withdrawn behaviour, such as not wanting to play with friends
- Episodes of sadness, constant worry, depression or anxious behaviour
- Anger, violence, temper tantrums or other aggressive behaviour
- Developmental issues such as delay in speech, language or toilet training
- Feelings of responsibility for separation or divorce
- Learning and attention problems such as dyslexia or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia or increased sleepiness
- Being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
- A significant drop in performance at school, excessive absenteeism or tardiness
- Heavy attachment to parents
Treatment for Children
The first counselling session is usually conducted with the parent present so the child can get to know the counsellor. Counselling with children is more effective when parents are actively involved and can provide support when the child is at home.
Once the parent and child feel comfortable and safe with the psychologist, sessions may be conducted one on one with the child. Children tend to share more about their feelings in this environment, as they can communicate without the fear of reaction from a parent. Various counselling methods are used including drawing and activity based psychology.
Counselling for children is confidential, however a counsellor may feel it necessary to share some information with a parent. In this situation, the child’s permission is sought first in order to maintain trust. There are also certain mandatory reporting requirements that may compel the psychologist to report some issues.
Mind4Life have experienced child psychologists available to assist you and your child resolve a wide range of issues. Contact our Client Relationship Team today to book an appointment.
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