Counseling for Kids
While childhood should be a time of magic and wonder, it is sometimes difficult. Whether they have survived trauma, live with a mental health condition, or need help with a major life transition, children sometimes need therapy to maintain mental health.
Because children see the world so differently than adults, it’s important to take your child to a therapist who specializes in helping children. LifeStance Health proudly offers pediatric counseling online and in-person across the country.
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Types of Pediatric Therapy
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy for anyone, much less for children. That’s why we offer several types of therapy for children and teens. Families may use one or more types of pediatric therapy in a care plan, and they may use therapy alongside medication.
LifeStance Health offers many types of pediatric therapy, including:
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
- Pediatric Psychology
- Play Therapy
In some types of pediatric therapy, parents play an active role in the sessions. For other types of care, therapists work one-on-one with the child and keep parents up-to-date as they go.
What Age Can Children Start Counseling?
Children as young as two years old can benefit from therapy. However, the right time to start counseling may depend on the child’s needs, family’s goals, and the therapist’s expertise. Children as young as 12 can start seeing adolescent therapists, who use different methods. Be sure to check with your therapist about age requirements.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
While a psychologist can help your child in many ways, they cannot prescribe medication. Child psychiatrists see children to establish and manage the medication portion of their treatment. Usually, a child will need to see a psychologist for weekly therapy in addition to their visits with a psychiatrist.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Counseling?
If you’re wondering whether your child could benefit from therapy, chances are that they could. You likely landed on this page because you are concerned about something your child said, did, or felt. That’s all the sign you need that it may be time to check in with a licensed, specialized therapist.
Think of it like when your child is physically ill. If they have the sniffles, you pretty much know how to handle it. But when you start searching the internet for symptoms, it’s probably time to call the pediatrician.
The same thing goes for mental and behavioral health. The occasional tantrum or bad day is something you know how to handle. But when you’re lying awake at night wondering if something is “normal,” or you’re worried that something serious may be going on, checking in is a great idea.
14 Signs a Child May Need a Therapist
If your child or teen is experiencing any of the following, they would likely benefit from a visit with one of our therapists:
- Sadness, tearfulness, or depression
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Excessively angry outbursts or acting out
- Decreased interest in activities they previously enjoyed
- Drastic mood swings
- Alcohol, drug, or substance abuse
- Attention deficits (ADD/ADHD)
- Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
- Speech, language, or other developmental delays
- Family separation such as divorce in the family or high-conflict custody disputes
- The death of a close family member, friend, or beloved pet
- Eating disorders or drastic appetite changes
- Irregular sleep, including insomnia or excessive sleepiness
- Complaints of illness (such as headache, upset stomach, or not feeling well) even though a doctor finds nothing wrong
How Do I Prepare My Child for Counseling?
First and foremost, find a calm moment to bring up therapy with your child. Don’t discuss the topic in the midst of a tantrum or argument. When the time is right, explain to your child what they can expect in a way that is compassionate and age-appropriate.
The younger your child is, the fewer details you need to give them. For example, a preschooler may just need to know that they are safe and that their therapist is here to help. However, an older child may learn that counseling can help them feel happier.
You can also prepare your child by making them as comfortable and happy as possible on the day of the first appointment. Consider letting your child wear their favorite clothes and bring a comfort item, such as a toy or blanket.
What If I Don’t Know What’s Wrong with My Child?
Sometimes a parent can’t put a name to what’s wrong, they just know instinctually that their child is in need. At LifeStance Health, we honor those feelings and know that parent involvement is key to helping children and teens.
We can help you put a name to the problem, understand what it means, and work together to create a personalized care plan.
If you don’t know what’s wrong with your child, our specially trained therapists are here to help. We’ve encountered many cases where the parents were simply unaware of a situation in their child’s life, and the child was either too scared or too embarrassed to speak about it to their parents.
That’s where a specially-trained counselor can be of great assistance. Our therapists are experts at getting to the bottom of an issue. They can help your child or teen regain their energy and vitality.