Grand Rapids – Child and Teen Counseling
Counseling and Therapy Programs for Children and Teens
Children often experience stress and they are usually less prepared to deal with it than adults who have developed coping skills. Children who are having problems at school, who have lost a loved one or friend, children who have to relocate or have a family involved in divorce, children have parents who are depressed and have their own mental health issues often need the help of a supportive therapist. Many times problems show up at school in the form of behavior problems, hyperactivity, relational problems, distractibility, poor grades, absenteeism, being bullied or bullying others.
Some children suffer from what we call developmental delays as well. These are marked by delays in significant maturational milestones such as talking, walking, balance, potty training, and intellectual development. A psychotherapist who is skilled in understanding child development and the treatment of these delays can be extremely beneficial.
Children whose struggles show up at home may take the form of mood swings, enuresis ( wetting) , encopresis (soiling), tearfulness, overeating or undereating, insomnia, hypersomnia, addiction to computer or phone screens, social isolation, loss of pleasure in daily activities.
Children may also suffer from anxiety or phobias at an early age. Anxiety is a stress response that results in nervousness, dread and worry. Anxiety can also be expressed through physical complaints such as stomach aches and headaches. Excessive worry is not something that a parent should attempt to criticize away in a child rather it is a red flag that the child is suffering with a fight or flight response and may need help with his or her feelings and perhaps develop more confidence to manage their young lives.
These are just a few of the symptoms which may show up if your child is troubled. It is important as parents or caregivers to try and listen to the needs and feelings of your child and honor rather than minimize stress they may be having that requires additional help. As our society advances we continue to understand the importance of supporting our children’s mental health. It takes time and patience and at times the extra effort of taking them to a counselor or therapist.
There are many types of therapy for children. Play therapy is the use of play and creative arts as a technique to help children identify and address feelings. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy helps with troubling beliefs and emotional upset. Behavioral therapy may help children with phobias and anxiety and developmental delays in potty training, socialization, understanding emotional situations, sleep schedules, getting along with others and so forth. Family therapy works with members of the family to see what the family can do to be of help to the child and what the family may accidentally be doing to impede the child’s health and happiness. Depth humanistic and psychodynamic child therapy helps the child understand his or her inner world of feelings and needs and stressors and helps with communication and resolution of inner conflict through awareness and support.
Let us make a final pitch to please listen to your children if they are in emotional pain, worried or stressed, rather than minimizing their feelings in hopes that their troubles will just go away. It is better to be proactive and help children to feel valued and understood. This will lead to improved mental health and an ability to handle stress and other emotional difficulties.