How Can Children Benefit from Therapy?
Therapy can help children develop problem-solving skills (such as anger management, tools to calm down, and skills to overcome fears) and also teach them the value of seeking help. My approach provides education for both children as well as their parents and strategies to practice at home so that both children and their families can feel successful, which can improve self-esteem. By working together as a team, we can quickly develop strategies to help your families cope with stress and a variety of emotional and behavioral issues.
Many children also need help dealing with school stress, such as homework, test anxiety, bullying, or peer pressure. Others need help to discuss their feelings about family issues, particularly if there’s a major transition, such as a divorce, move, or serious illness. Regardless of the reason you are looking to help your child, by coming to my website you are on the right path! Children do well when their needs are noticed and validated. By considering bringing your child in for therapy you are doing just that.
Should My Child See a Therapist?
Significant life events — such as the death of a family member, friend, or pet; divorce or a move; abuse; trauma; a parent leaving on military deployment; or a major illness in the family — can cause stress that might lead to problems with behavior, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning.
However, in some cases, the reason your child suddenly seems withdrawn, worried, stressed, sulky, or tearful is not as clear. It is extremely important to trust your instincts if you feel your child might have an emotional or behavioral problem or needs help coping with a difficult life event.
Signs that a child may benefit from seeing a psychologist or licensed therapist include:
- developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training
- learning or attention problems (such as ADHD)
- arguments over homework or homework taking excessive amounts of time
- excessive school absenteeism or tardiness
- being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
- behavioral problems (such as excessive anger, acting out, bedwetting or eating disorders)
- a significant drop in grades, particularly if your child normally earns higher grades
- overly aggressive behavior (such as biting, kicking, or hitting)
- episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression
- social withdrawal or isolation
- decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
- insomnia or increased sleepiness
- mood swings (e.g., happy one minute, upset the next)
- development of or an increase in physical complaints (such as headache, stomachache, or not feeling well) despite a normal physical exam by your doctor
- management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness
- signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use (such as solvents or prescription drug abuse)
- problems in transitions (following separation, divorce, or relocation)
- bereavement issues
- custody evaluations
- therapy following sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events
- sudden changes in appetite (particularly in adolescents)
If you are reading this list and have a concern about your child’s behavior or emotional well-being, please call me at 707-239-2782 so we can explore whether therapy is right for your child. As a parent myself, my most important advice to you – trust your instinct!