What is a child therapist?
Child Counselling and Psychotherapy is a specific service designed for children and young people. It is similar to adult therapy, however there are significant differences in how a therapist works with children.
A child or young person is often referred to therapy by their parents/carer or other professionals that work with them. The child/young person can also directly ask to access therapy themselves. The reasons that a child or young person goes to therapy varies massively and some examples are:
*You have noticed changes in a child or young persons mood or behaviour
*The child or young person is expressing difficulties with their emotions
*The child is going through some challenging situations that therapy could help with
What does a child therapist do?
Child Counselling involves a mix of talking, use of creative materials and also play. Child therapists have trained extensively to develop techniques in working with children and young people. For some children, talking is not the most appropriate way for a therapist to address the issues they are experiencing. Therefore, a therapist often uses other tools such as creative materials or entering into play with the child or young person. This is an effective way for the therapist and child to work through the issues that a child is attending therapy for.
Some children are very aware of the issues that they are finding difficult. Consequently these children are likely to view counselling as a safe place to be themselves and work through difficult and traumatic experiences. Younger children do not always have a full understanding of what therapy is, and will therefore view their sessions as a time to play and talk with an adult. Therapists will direct this play and the sessions to help the child to connect more with their emotions and process difficult experiences. Children are often not aware of the purpose of the play and regular input and reviews with parents can be helpful. This will help to monitor the impact of the child counselling sessions.
All children are part of a wider system, and therapists will work therapeutically with the parents/carers to help with the child’s emotional wellbeing. Child Counselling can also improve the wellbeing of the wider family. This is by supporting positive ways of communicating and interacting between family members. Therapy can help parents / carers to understand more of what their child is experiencing, and how they themselves are feeling. Undoubtedly, this can have a positive impact on the child’s wellbeing and the wider family. Parent / carer reviews can be a helpful part of the therapy and this is done with the child’s consent and input.
What issues can a child therapist work with?
Therapists at Meridian Therapeutic Services CIC can help children to work through:
- Divorce / separation
- Low mood / depression
- Self harm
- Suicidal ideation
- Young carer issues
We have a range of child counsellors that are qualified staff, volunteers and trainee therapists on placement. If you feel that your child or a child or young person you are working with could benefit from therapy please book an assessment.