What Is Child & Adolescent Therapy?
Childhood and adolescence are a time of discovery, growth and development, with these processes resulting in a wide range of experiences; some of which we may look back upon fondly, whereas others we would much rather forget about.
As kids navigate the different challenges that come with growing up they are also learning about themselves, others and the world, with their parents and caregivers generally providing support to them throughout this. However, as is true of all people, children and teenagers can experience difficulties, with some of the big differences between adults and youngsters being the way these difficulties may present themselves.
Sometimes a child who may be worried about something can tell you that they are worried; however, depending on the situation this worry could also come out as anger or withdrawal. Children who may be struggling with low self-esteem may become argumentative and refuse to compromise, whereas others may make negative statements about themselves.
If these issues are not creating a significant impact on the child's life they can be responded to effectively through reassurance and use of appropriate consistency and structure in their day to day lives. However, in cases where struggles may be impacting the child's life more significantly, these difficulties can be more effectively reduced or eliminated by working with a mental health professional.
Ultimately, children and adolescents are no less complex than any adults and as such sometimes they may struggle and when people struggle they often benefit from reaching out and receiving help.
At Spectrum Mental Health, our clinicians have years of experience working with children, teenagers and families on issues which may be causing distress, conflict or difficulties in living and thriving in different contexts.
Kids are constantly developing, learning, and changing – which is complicated process – and so it is vital to understand a child's experiences within their developmental context. This is a concept which we, as mental health professionals, always keep to the front of our minds when working with younger people.
The other thing to keep in mind is that children and teenagers are very much embedded within a social and family context. They are not independent adults and, thus, including some of the people who support them (e.g. parents) can be an important part of treatment.
This is done with a recognition of both the child's developmental situation (i.e. when working with younger children parents may often be integrated into sessions) and the specific presenting issue, with level of involvement of figures of support within the therapeutic process depending on these factors.
Our clinicians provide services around a wide range of issues, including low self-esteem, anger management, non-compliance and challenging behaviours, depression, anxiety, difficulties with social interaction, exam stress, and other mental health difficulties. If you are concerned about your child, please do not hesitate to get in touch through our website or by phone.
Children (5 – 12 years)
The psychologist will meet with one or both parents for 50 minutes to gain a detailed understanding of the difficulty from a parental perspective. The child does not attend this session. At this point a therapeutic plan can be put in place, which may involve sessions with the child, the parents and the child, or the parents alone.
Adolescents (13 – 17 years)
Parents may decide it would be useful to attend the first session for 10-15 minutes to share their views. Alternatively the adolescent may prefer to engage with the first session without their parents in the therapy room. As confidentiality is important for adolescents, parents may or may not be physically present in the therapy room for further sessions depending on circumstances and context of the presenting issue. Depending on individual circumstances, family sessions may be suggested at a later date.
Given the adolescent's status as a minor, a parent is required to accompany the adolescent to all appointments and be present in the building throughout session. Consent is required from all individuals with legal custodial rights of the child, with the consent form typically being required to be signed by both parents prior to first session. Contact details for all individuals with rights to legal custody of the adolescent are also required to be provided at the beginning of the first session.