Children, just like adults, can experience difficulties in life that can be effectively addressed by psychotherapy. However, children are not smaller versions of adults and they require a psychotherapist that has training, experience and who specializes in working with children as well as with adults. Of course, a psychotherapist may be very effective in working with all age groups, but usually a child psychotherapist focuses on working with the younger clients of the practice.
Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Children that are candidates for psychotherapy tend to have both emotional and behavioural problems. Often the behavioural problems are noted by the schools as the parents have adjusted to living with the child in the home setting. Emotional and behavioural difficulties can also be a result of many different factors, including traumatic incidents, learning disabilities, exposure to abuse, or developmental delays.
Children can also be referred to child psychotherapy for depression, anxiety, anger or aggression issues, eating disorders, self-harming, phobias and other stress related challenges and difficulties in the child's life.
In child psychotherapy, as well as in the treatment of adults, the therapist will match the appropriate approach to the individual child. At Philippe Jacquet & Associates our experienced psychotherapists who work with our youngest clients have the ability to build rapport, establish trust and to create meaningful therapeutic sessions based on the child's developmental stage and abilities.
The services offered through child psychotherapy can include assessments and evaluations, short and long term therapy, individual and group sessions as well as support and assistance for the parents. The sessions will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual client and the family with regards to addressing specific emotional and behavioural issues that are having negative effects.
Forms of Interventions
Many children are not developmentally able to express themselves on a deep level and the "talk" styles of therapy may not be appropriate. For these children there are a range of other therapeutic options that can be highly effective. However, building trust is absolutely essential so the child is comfortable in discussing or displaying the issues that are the triggers or stressors that he or she is experiencing.
Play therapy is a technique used with young children that allows a therapist trained in this approach to guide a child, through play, to explore their feelings, thoughts and experiences. This approach is effective for children typically under 12 years of age and allows them to act out, through their manipulation of toys and the environment, the challenges they are facing. They can also learn better coping mechanisms through the same process and with guidence from the psychotherapist. Art therapy and child-centred talk therapies are all part of an integrated approach used to customise the treatment for the young client.
Duration of Treatment
As with any type of therapy, the duration of child psychotherapy treatment will be highly individualised. Early treatment is seen as the best option as this allows the child to develop new, positive, healthy coping strategies that will minimize the risk of emotional and behavioural difficulties going forward into adolescence and adulthood.