Child Counseling & Therapy
Childhood is a time of tremendous growth and change. Oftentimes it can be quite difficult to determine whether or not behavior is “normal” or an indication a child has strayed from a healthy developmental path.
Mental health difficulties in children most often manifest as behavioral issues in the form of defiance, aggression, “disruptive behaviors”, or as avoidance and passivity in the form of anxiety and withdrawal. In both cases, this can be a major impediment to growth and well-being and can impact a child’s success in all environments (e.g., home, school, peer group, etc.). For example, a child exhibiting defiance often contributes to an environment prevalent with conflict; while a child experiencing anxiety might create an environment of isolation that is devoid of social support and learning opportunities.
Childhood Signs of Mental Health Issues
difficulties in school
avoiding friends and family
frequent mood swings
frequent anger (e.g., temper tantrums)
loss of appetite
low energy or motivation
defiant with parents and/or teachers
not doing the things he or she used to enjoy
changes in hygiene
overly concerned with appearance or weight
bullying other children
attempting to injure him or her self
Counseling & Psychotherapy with Children at Mindly
Our counselors and therapists focus on finding ways to promote change within the child’s environment. We believe that given the right environment and opportunity to learn, children will do just that. It is amazing how quickly children will learn new behaviors and self-correct when their environment allows and encourages them to do so!
While we do not view parents as the “problem”, (we actually don’t think anyone is the problem…only the problem is the problem) we believe that parents undoubtedly have the greatest impact, directly and indirectly, on a child’s functioning. We want to mobilize those forces that will produce the greatest growth and change, and in almost every case that involves a parent. Our treatment aims to empower parents at a time when they often feel powerless and help them re-establish a healthy, growth-oriented relationship with their child.
Our counseling approach at Mindly encourages parents to actively participate in their child’s emotional, psychological, and/or behavioral treatment. We don’t “fix” kids or problems, but rather aim to empower our clients and their families in developing the knowledge and skills to overcome both current and future difficulties. We believe that we have a responsibility to focus on what “works,” and that means including parents in treatment process.
At Mindly, we utilize several approaches to children’s mental health treatment:
While this approach may not be best suited for all mental health concerns in children, research shows that for the most common child mental health issues (e.g., ADHD, defiance/aggression, mood dysregulation, and anxiety) the most effective treatments utilize behaviorally focused interventions that involve the active participation of parents/caregivers in the treatment process.
Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. Play therapy utilizes play, children’s natural medium of expression, to help them share their feelings more easily through toys instead of words. Play is a child’s language and toys are the child’s words. Though children lack the cognitive skills to express themselves with words, they are fluent in the language of play. Play therapy allows them to express themselves in the way in which they are most comfortable.
The aim of family therapy is to develop insight and understanding into relationship dynamics and family structures that may be contributing to dysfunction for one or several family members and ultimately identify develop healthier, more adaptive means of resolving conflict within the family system. Family therapy is an effective stand-alone treatment and can often be complementary to individual therapy, especially when working with children and adolescents.