A child psychotherapist may be helpful for children
- whose behavior at home is disrupting family life (due to poor anger control, communication difficulties, sadness, sibling conflicts, or sleep problems, for example);
- whose grades are declining or who struggle about homework; or
- whose friendships are unsatisfactory (due to trouble with making or keeping friends).
Sometimes, but not always, these symptoms emerge after changes in the child’s life (for example – divorce, relocation, new school, death of a loved one, or abuse).
A qualified child psychotherapist in Psychotherapy Saint Louis has special training, which is needed because children have characteristics that make adult (talking) psychotherapy inappropriate.
- Young children cannot use speech as effectively as adults can.
- Children cannot focus, especially on painful topics, as long as adults can.
- Children are less introspective than adults.
- They have had few experiences to show them how different ways of feeling and acting lead to different results.
- Children live their lives within contexts at home and school over which they have little or no personal control.
Child psychotherapists in Psychotherapy Saint Louis are able to understand their patients by using play, the natural language of childhood, to enter their patients’ world. In child psychotherapy, play activities make their feeling and thoughts clear, whether through imaginative activities, table games, sand play to bring or other techniques.
Environmental modifications are also effective.
- Structured format: teaching parents to systematically alter their responses.
- Educational format: teaching parents about normal child development.
- Therapeutic format: showing parents novel ways to make sense of their child’s otherwise confusing actions.
- Family Therapy: the whole family working together with a therapist to improve mutual understanding and emphasize the family’s shared values.
Article by Julien Worland, Ph.D.