It is true that some children have many of the same mental health issues as adults. Therefore, they may need counseling. While childhood is mostly seen as a carefree time filled with joy and playtime, it isn’t true for all children. Children, for instance, are susceptible to similar emotional health problems and mood disorders as adults. Statistics show that as many as one in five children and adolescents may have a mental disorder that requires treatment. Another fact is that one in ten have a serious emotional disturbance.
It is important to know the warning signs, that your child may need therapy which include, for example, persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, constant anger and overreacting, persistent worry, anxiety, or fearfulness, preoccupation with physical illness or their own appearance, fear that someone is controlling their mind, or that they are out of control, unexplained drop in school grades, loss of interest in activities, changes in patterns in sleeping or eating, isolation, hearing voices, expressing thoughts of suicide, concentration difficulty, an inability to sit still, obsessively washing hands or cleaning things, regular nightmares, alcohol or drug use, dieting or binging, or being violent.
If a child or adolescent is showing some or many of these signs it is likely that they need to seek therapy. Some recommended therapy would be cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and behavior therapy. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, children are taught how their own thoughts can affect their mood and behavior. They are shown how to identify such negative or distorted thoughts to better deal with them. This type of therapy is good for children who have anxiety or depression. In Play therapy, kids are given toys to play with, and a psychotherapist watches how they play in order to better understand their emotional or mental health issues. This, in turn, helps kids figure out their feelings and how to express them. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is the children;s version of the talking cure, by which a psychotherapist helps figure out the issues that are influencing how a child thinks or acts. This type of therapy, for instance, can help a child who has anxiety or depression, is dealing with an eating disorder, or who is lashing out due to a conduct disorder. Lastly, behavior therapy focuses on behavior modification which is helpful for treating children who have ADHD. Being able to identify your childs issues and seeking help is important so that they can lead healthier and happier lives.
by Carissa Nadolski, Consultant