Children deal with stress and emotional pain in a different way than adults do. Children have not yet developed the language skills to express complex feelings, so often their stress and emotional pain comes out through their behaviors: bed wetting, clinging to a parent, avoidance of going to school or poor performance in school, acting out behaviors. These are just a few of the behavioral clues that your child may need to talk with someone. It can be easy for even the most dedicated parent to miss or underestimate the emotional impact that changes in the family (such as a new baby, a divorce, the death of a family member or the remarriage of a parent) can have on a child of any age.
It takes specialized training and experience to do counseling with children, and often the therapy may “look different” than adult counseling would appear. Your child may come home saying, “We just played games the whole time,” however in what appear to simply be games to the child, a skilled child therapist can provide support, education and suggestions for behavior change that are assimilated by the child, without “talking about them” in the commonly expected way.
In child therapy, often “play” is used as the tool to help the child express their feelings, and begin to master their reactions to a stressful situation. Most commonly, a child therapist will also ask the parent/caregiver of the child to be involved in the counseling in some way—whether this is actually sitting in on a session, or is a short conference at the beginning or end of a child’s session to inform the parent of the child’s progress.
The following CPC counselors work with children: