For many youngsters, childhood is a happy time. For others it is plagued by developmental issues, sadness and behavioural problems. Parents of children who are experiencing a hard time can turn to psychotherapy to help their kids cope.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a treatment used to deal with mental disorders without the use of medication. For instance, psychologists are psychotherapy practitioners because they go through specific university schooling to learn how to treat mental illness through cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling and do not prescribe medicine.
What problems can be treated by psychotherapy?
When a child chronically acts out, there are usually underlying causes. Psychotherapy can uncover those causes and treat them effectively. Many children are unable to cope with everyday stresses like homework and taking tests; some even have trouble deciding what to wear to school so much that it becomes an upsetting part of their routine. On the other hand, a child may be experiencing peer pressure, bullying or a mental illness such as OCD or depression. They may also have trouble dealing with a divorce or a move to a new city. Psychotherapy can treat all of the following:
- Delays in development like speech, language and potty training
- Attention and learning issues such as ADHD
- Excessive anger or sadness
- Eating disorders
- Bullying other children or being the victim of bullying
- Exhibiting overly aggressive behaviour like hitting, kicking and biting
- Insomnia or extreme sleepiness
- Social withdrawal/decreased interest in being around other children
- Mood swings
- Challenging authority figures such as teachers
- Having trouble managing a chronic illness such as diabetes
- PTSD following abuse (sexual, physical or verbal) or a traumatic event like a death in the family
- Critical drops in grades
- Drug and alcohol use
How do I know if my child needs to see a psychologist?
If your child is experiencing any of the issues or behaviours from the list above, it is worth doing an assessment with a psychologist. Therapy provides a safe environment where your child can learn to grow and deal with their issues without judgement and fear. If you were to ask your child if they wanted to see a psychologist the answer would probably be a resounding “no”. However, that doesn’t mean that your child won’t benefit from psychotherapy. Children are susceptible to the same emotional, mental and physical disorders that adults are except they may not have developed the cognitive tools to deal with them yet.