Looking for a therapist for your child can feel like a daunting task. The therapist needs to be qualified yet also approachable, kind and gentle. They will be speaking to your child about their pain and difficulties and it is important you can trust them to do this important task well, to make things better (not worse) for your child.
Therapy for children looks very different to therapy for adolescents and adults. Children are significantly influenced by their surroundings. With younger children the approach is to work with the family as they have the biggest impact at this stage of life, especially if the child is under 12.
The type of therapy is also dependent on the child’s problem and the cause of this problem.For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is helpful for children with anxiety and depression. However a skilled therapist will also look for other causes. It could be trauma, loss, underlying illness or an undiagnosed neurodevelopmental issue that could be underpinning their difficulties.
In our Practice we only place child clients with one of our CAMHS specialist Doctors of Clinical Psychology; Dr Abigail Pamich or Dr Victoria Smalley. They have both worked in an NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team (CAMHS) and are highly qualified in undertaking a thorough assessment of what led to the problem, and then choosing the most helpful treatment approach.
For example, it is not helpful to treat a child using CBT for anxiety when the cause is trauma, as this needs a different approach… or maybe the child’s behaviour is related to grief due to changes in family circumstances – thus an approach of Systemic Family Therapy or a grief and loss model would be most useful. Narrative Therapy is also commonly used with children as it draws on stories (in a playful way), to define and change a persons understanding of difficulties and how to overcome them.
A few examples of how therapy can help children include coping with everyday worries such as school stress, and relationship issues with friends, family members and teachers. Therapy can also help with managing bullies, loss, grief, depression and anxiety and managing learning difficulties.. to name a few.
Therapy for children often includes working closely with carers and thus systemic family intervention is an important approach. This is where conflict, concerns and difficulties within the family are addressed by involving different family members in the therapy, so the young person and their family can move towards a place of understanding, strength and resourcefulness.
Areas specifically treated include:
- Parenting strategies
- Bedtime or sleeping difficulties
- Nightmares, night terrors
- Difficulties with eating
- Anger & behavioural issues
- ADHD behavioural/ emotional support
- Encopresis/ enuresis concerns (soiling/ wetting)
- General anxiety or anxiety at separations
- Difficulties with siblings or new baby
- Panic, phobias, OCD, specific traumas
- Self harming behaviours, risky behaviours
- Attachment difficulties, struggles in relationships
- Navigating family separation, change, divorce
- Low mood, depression, sadness, grief, loss, low self esteem
- Problems with friends, school, relationships, social issues
- Bullying, abuse (sexual, emotional, physical)
- Assertiveness, skills in building relationships
- Concerns about developmental difficulties
- Systemic family approaches to improve family communication
- Post natal depression and birth trauma (adult therapy)