According to the National Institute on Mental Illness (NAMI) about 4 million children and adolescents experience a mental health issue that significantly impairs them at home, school, or in their social groups. Children, just like adults, can participate in and benefit from counseling. Counseling can help children and adolescents learn how to identify causes of their distress, develop their skills in asking for help and expressing emotions, and improve their problem-solving abilities.
Our Approach to child and adolescent counseling is strength-based and therefore focuses on the strengths and resources of each child or adolescent and their family. We seek to identify and develop strength and growth areas, reduce distress and increase coping skills.
Why would I send my child or adolescent to counseling?
Children and adolescents, just like adults, experience stress. Common stressors for children include school and family issues. School stressors may include excessive or difficult homework, test anxiety, peer pressure, bullying, and learning difficulties. Family issues may include parental arguing, divorce, moving homes, new sibling, major illness, death, loss, and transitions. If you notice changes in your child’s behavior or emotions counseling can serve as a positive resource.
What is the goal of child/adolescent therapy?
Specific therapy goals are customized to meet the needs of the child and their family. The overall goal is to alleviate symptoms of distress; improve the child’s social and emotional resources; increase their use of effective communication skills; and strengthen family, community, and peer relationships.
Do you just talk with my child/adolescent, like in therapy with adults?
Yes and no. There is talking involved in the therapy process, however with children and adolescents the therapy incorporates many activities, play and games. It is important for us to engage and interact with the child/adolescent, versus “talking at” them, as the language they are most familiar with at this stage in life is more nonverbal and interactive.
Are parents/primary caregivers included in the therapy sessions?
We incorporate others in the therapy process depending on the nature of the problem and the child/adolescent’s environmental resources. Others may include family (e.g., parents, grandparents, siblings), teachers, and caregivers. The amount of time and frequency of involvement of others is unique to the child/adolescent and family’s situation. We understand that many parents have questions about their child/adolescent’s therapeutic process and progress. Therefore, we reserve the last few minutes of every session to touch base with parents/caregivers to answer questions and provide updates, as appropriate.
(Upper St. Clair office only for children under 12yrs., Pleasant Hills office 12yrs. and up)
We have play/art therapy rooms to assist in helping your children with the counseling process.