It can be daunting seeing a therapist for the first time as an adult, so for a child it can seem even more scary, and perhaps as a parent, even scarier!
If you believe your child will benefit from seeing a therapist, there is a good chance that you would like to find out what exactly an appointment would involve, and why – so you can prepare both yourself and your child.
This piece is going to take a look at the types of things you can expect when your child goes to a therapist, to take away some of the fear of the unknown and give everyone time to prepare.
Why Should a Child Have Therapy?
There are many reasons why children undergo therapy, and they might not be that different from why adults seek out professional help. Generally, kids go through similar feelings to adults, but they are much less equipped to deal with how they feel due to their stage of brain development.
Going through therapy can help them understand their thoughts and feelings in a safe space, and can tackle any issues before they become more problematic or have a greater impact on their life.
Therapy also offers a neutral party they can speak to without many concerns of personal conflict, which can help children to open up – especially if they do not feel like they have an adult they can trust in their life already.
If you are still on the fence about your child seeing a therapist, or have any concerns about child mental health, then do not be afraid to contact a professional who should be able to answer all of your questions and alleviate many of your worries before the appointment.
What Happens in a Therapy Session?
There are many different forms that a therapy session can take, and it will depend on what medium is used that will direct the course of the session.
There are 4 main conductors of therapy for children, which include:
- Talk – Children may predominantly use talking as a means of therapy. Children will be able to describe how they feel, talk about their fears, what is on their mind, and what types of problems they are experiencing, to a therapist.
- New skills – Coping mechanisms that are learnt, such as through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can be really crucial in helping children put measures in place to improve their mental health.
- Activities– Art therapy and play therapy work well in helping a child express themselves through a different medium. This can be useful if the child is non-verbal, does not want to talk, or finds it easier to use their hands and create rather than speak.
- Problem solving – For older children, you might find there is a specific issue that is bothering them, causing distressing symptoms. When a child is able to discuss the issues they are facing, they can work towards clarification for said problems – this can make it much easier to put solutions in place.