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Should I Take My Child to a Counselor?

Written by Victoria Delgadillo, LAC Arizona

Children’s mental health is an essential part of development, well-being, and overall health. It can be affected by their environment, experiences, and social interactions. Ensuring that they are experiencing good mental health can be a confusing and overwhelming process. Children’s understanding of emotions and socializing can be very different from an adult’s understanding. Because of this difference, it may be hard for parents, caregivers, or other adults in children’s lives to figure out how to help. When trying to navigate this, it can be beneficial to seek support from others who may have more knowledge in this area. One potential support is working with a counselor. These trained individuals can not only support you on this journey but also provide information on ways to improve mental health outside of the counseling room.

What Problems/Issues Can Be Brought Up In Counseling?

Parents/caregivers can bring their children/teens in for counseling for many different reasons. This can include difficulties in school, bullying, socializing, behaviors at home/school, or understanding and expressing emotions. Children often experience anxiety and/or depression and working with a counselor can help them and their caregivers understand these diagnoses and learn coping skills to manage their symptoms. Counselors can also help parents/caregivers with learning different strategies for building communication, resolving conflicts, or improving relationships.

What Does Counseling Look Like for Children?

Children typically express themselves in different ways than adults. They may not know the words to express what they are feeling or struggling with. Counselors working with children may utilize techniques from art therapy or play therapy to help them express themselves.

To learn more about Play Therapy, refer to the “What is Play Therapy?” blog.

In the sessions themselves, counselors and children may be talking, drawing, playing, or building. Parents/caregivers and siblings may join the session if the counselor feels it would be beneficial. Typically, the first session will include the parents/caregivers to get a better understanding of why their child has been brought in for counseling. Sessions for children usually range from 30-55 minutes. Depending on what brings them in for counseling, they may see the counselor weekly or every other week. 

What Does Counseling Look Like for Teens?

Similarly, counseling with teens will include parents mostly in the first session and then potentially in other sessions — depending on what goals are wanting to be achieved through counseling. With teens, art and play can still be used, but it usually involves more talking.

Would My Child/Teen Want to Do Counseling?

Some children or teens may ask their parents/caregivers to let them see a counselor. They often find it comforting to have their own space to speak freely without judgment. Children and teens may also be motivated to seek or continue counseling because they are able to express themselves or learn more about themselves and their emotions in a fun way. Speak with your counselor to determine the best way to explain what counseling is to your child.

How Do I Start the Process?

When looking for a counselor to work with your child or teen, it can be helpful to look online for counselors who specialize in working with that age group. One place you can look up counselors/therapists is Psychology Today. On the website, the provider will list their specialties, what ages they work with, and/or what techniques they utilize in sessions. You may also ask your insurance provider, friends or colleagues for referrals, or different counseling agencies if they have therapists/counselors that work with children or teens.

If you are interested in speaking with a counselor or starting counseling services for yourself, your child, or your family, Symmetry Counseling provides services for individuals, couples, or families. We are proud to offer teletherapy and online counseling services, ensuring that no matter your needs, you are able to speak with a qualified counselor. For more information, contact our intake team today to connect with a counselor. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 19). Therapy to improve children’s mental health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/parent-behavior-therapy.html 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 19). What is children’s mental health? 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/basics.html 

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