Children & Teens

Children cannot verbally express emotions and feelings until they have developed abstract reasoning skills (about the age of 12). Therefore, sitting in a room, on a couch, simply talking to a counselor is not the most effective way of handling a child’s issues. Have you ever sat across from a child at the dinner table and asked them “how are you feeling?”, or “what do you think about…?” You probably don’t get a lot of feedback, do you?

A child’s natural language is play and toys are his or her words. By having a skilled play therapist work with your child in a state of play, your child reaps the benefits of therapy without having to verbalize any concerns unless he or she is able, or chooses to.

Play Therapy is designed to give your child freedom to grow and explore values, skills and beliefs in a safe and healthy environment. Child -Centered Play Therapy allows the child to heal in his or her own manner and time, giving the child responsiblity for and control of the successes.

Children are expected to process conflicting and confusing messages, and often suffer from behavioral issues as a result. Children are also affected by divorce, remarriage, death or life changes that can be overwhelming to handle without appropriate interventions. Play Therapy provides a safe and healthy place to work through confusion, anxiety, anger, grief, and many other common childhood emotions. In their own way and time during therapy, children emerge resilient and resourceful with better coping skills and a healthy world view.

When children start Kindergarten a new level of independence is often reached. The elementary school years can be exciting for most children, but daunting for some.  Some children experience significant anxiety when going to school and just getting them out of the house can be a challenge. Events such as moving, having an ill parent, the loss of a parent, or divorce can all be very big for children. Sometimes having a grownup besides mom or dad to help process big feelings can be helpful.

The following behaviors might indicate consulting with a child therapist.

  • long crying spells
  • prolonged sullen, distant periods
  • difficulty forming friendships
  • problems connecting with a teacher
  • physical aggression towards others or self