Most parents who have watched their children develop and grow find the process fascinating. From witnessing them as they learn how to walk and speak to observing their social interactions and self-exploration at school and in friendships, the process of learning and maturing is exciting–and complicated. When children are moving from stage to stage in their development from birth and toddler to child and adolescence, so many changes occur. Many times, parents are perplexed about the behaviors of their children—wondering if they are normal and appropriate for their stage of development or if they are struggling from difficulties. When there is a question about normal development in a child, it is prudent to talk to a therapist to discuss current and potential issues.
Parents want to ensure that their child is not encountering difficulties. Sometimes there are signs that something is troubling their child, whether it is in their role in the family or at school with their peers and teachers or with their friends. Sometimes children are not able to communicate what is troubling them or making them anxious, and they often do not feel comfortable talking to an adult about their issues. Whatever the reason is, parents and caregivers feel helpless as they stand by and watch their child go through emotional times and not be able to assist.
If you or somebody else–like a school advisor or coach—feel that your child may displaying behaviors that are unusual for them or may not be considered appropriate, it is reasonable to see a therapist or a counselor about a problem. Thriveworks Woodbridge, VA Child Therapists and Counselors are experts in their field, whether the child is experiencing problems with behavior at school, feeling anxious or being bullied (or bullying others). The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Woodbridge, VA are professionally licensed and have years of experience in the field.
Reasons to Seek Child and Adolescent Therapy/Counseling
Child and adolescent therapy investigates and understands the development of the mind and finds ways to work with individuals to help improve, heal and uplift their lives. There are many factors that cause stress in children and adolescents, and therapists can work with the child, the parents and the family to find the causes of their stresses and challenges, work on skills to convey their emotions healthily and make goals for themselves. Family stressors like divorce, a new sibling and a death in the family can trigger a change in the child’s behavior, such as isolation, anxiety and inability to focus.
In the teenage years, adolescents can experience emotions that are like the waves in the ocean—one minute their moods are up, and the next minute, they are down. Sometimes it is hard for parents to know if the emotions their adolescent is experiencing is the result of normal development or something that should be addressed by a therapist.
When to Visit a Child Therapist
There are many events and traumas in life when children and adolescents could benefit from therapy. The following are a few of the reasons.
- Child abuse and neglect are prevalent concerns among the various stressful life events that can lead to mental health challenges. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recorded 686,000 cases of child maltreatment in the year 2012 alone. Children who are abused or neglected may be unable to share their experiences because of overwhelming fear or shame.
- When children reach adolescence, romantic and other relationships can be the cause of stress. In addition, relationships between parents and children are vital to healthy development, but may become strained by the ups and downs of adolescent life. For instance, most teens worry about their romantic relationships. But, for some teens, worrying about relationships may cause an excessive drain on their energy, making it hard to enjoy their life.
- Disordered eating is a condition that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes affects about 10 percent of young women in the U.S. This may be attributed partly because of the social pressures and stress of adolescent life. Two forms of this condition are anorexia nervosa and bulimia and are more common in females—but can also occur in male adolescents. Disordered eating also frequently co-occurs with substance abuse.
- A partially funded study by the National Institute on Mental Health in 2009 found that only about half of all children and adolescents who experienced general anxiety, panic, disordered eating, depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder actually receive professional mental health services. In addition, the study found that while the prevalence rates were about the same across races, fewer African-Americans and Mexican-Americans were likely to seek help.
- Experimentation with alcohol and drugs among adolescents can lead to serious developmental, social and behavioral issues. The Center for Disease Control estimated the following statistics for problems associated with substance abuse among adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17.
- Problem illegal drug use—4.7 %
- Problem alcohol use—4.2%
- Physical dependence on cigarettes—2.8%
Child and Adolescent Therapy Techniques
The professional therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Woodbridge, VA are experienced working with the child and the family to help address concerns about what is interrupting them from living a happy life. The therapists, through conversations and interactions with a child or a family, can help them to understand and resolve problems, modify behavior and make positive changes in their lives.
There are several types of therapy that involve different approaches, techniques and interventions. At times, a combination of different therapy approaches may be helpful. The following are a few of the types of therapy.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps to improve a child’s moods, anxiety and behavior by examining confused or distorted patterns of thinking. Therapists teach children that thoughts cause feelings and moods, which can influence their behavior. A child learns to identify harmful thought patterns, and the therapist helps the child to replace their thinking with thoughts that result in more appropriate feelings and behaviors. Research shows that CBT can be effective in treating a variety of conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
- Family Therapy focuses on helping the family be able to function in more positive and constructive ways by investigating patterns of communication and giving support and education. Family Therapy sessions can include the child or adolescent with the parents, siblings and grandparents.
- Play Therapy includes using toys, blocks, dolls, puppets, drawings and games to help the child recognize, identify and verbalize feelings. The therapist watches how the child uses play materials and identifies themes or patterns to understand their issues. Through talk and play, the child has an opportunity to better understand and manage their conflicts, feelings and behavior.
When Deciding on Child and Adolescent Therapy, Choose Thriveworks in Woodbridge, VA
Making a decision to bring your child or adolescent to therapy is one of the most important you will make in their life. You want to know they will receive the very best therapy possible. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Woodbridge, VA are professionally licensed and credentialed and have worked with children, adolescents and their families on many issues, such as anxiety, trauma, major life events, transitions and more.
Therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Woodbridge, VA are experts in the field who ensure your child feels secure in the environment and is able to move past the issues they face to lead a life that is filled with joy and optimism. Schedule a session with Thriveworks Woodbridge, VA for child and adolescent therapy and counseling, where you won’t be placed on a waiting list. Appointments are available in 24 hours for most new clients.