Individual therapy with children looks different depending on the age of your child. With young children, parents are an essential part of the treatment process. As they have the potential to affect great change in a child’s behavior, individual therapy is provided in conjunction with parent sessions and support. As children get older and transition to elementary and middle school, they often desire an increase in privacy. While we consult with parents at all stages of the process, with older children we balance this communication with a child’s need to have a safe place they can talk about issues they may not wish to share with parents, siblings, teachers, or friends. Using evidence-based techniques, our main goal is to help children and their parents learn and be able to utilize new coping strategies.
Our team offers highly individualized care because we know that each of our clients is unique. Determining which treatment provider will be the best fit for you is dependent on your particular presenting concerns and goals, as well as the treatment style of the therapist.
We believe that several steps are essential in order for therapy to be successful:
- Building Trust and Establishing a Relationship – Our psychologists are especially skilled at developing comfortable, safe relationships with children. Depending on the child’s interests and openness to the process, we engage them through conversation, play and, at times, participation in their favorite activities. While therapy typically occurs in the office, there are times when outside activities are utilized, particularly when the goal of therapy is related to anxiety and fear. This process of engagement brings about a relaxed atmosphere, which sets the stage for open and honest discussions.
- Setting Objective Goals – Once we establish trust and the children are motivated to engage in the therapy process, we work with them and their parents to set goals for their treatment.
- Strategies for Change – After establishing treatment goals, we determine the best treatment approach. For some, the work will be primarily done with parents to refine strategies used at home. For others, play therapy will help gain insight into worries or fears, which can be especially useful when working with young children who do not have the language to articulate their experiences. As children get older, some progress simply by having a therapist to talk to about peers, school stressors, etc. Others require a more structured approach whereby the therapist helps them identify and then replace maladaptive thought and behavioral patterns in order to help them reach their goals. No matter the approach, our main goal is to focus and build upon a child’s strengths.