Child Therapy in Oakland
A child’s life is full of play and curiosity, but the demands of childhood can sometimes be difficult to manage and the magic of childhood can turn into something scary and troublesome. When this happens, children need extra help and guidance in navigating the growing up process. Some children have behavioral and emotional difficulties from early on and raising a child with a difficult temperament is very demanding and often leads to additional stress on the family. In combination with the many pressures of everyday life, having a child that requires extra attention leaves parents feeling as though they have lost control and have exhausted their options. This is when child therapy should be considered.
A child is forced to deal with a constantly changing environment. Some of these changes include major milestones such as starting school, getting a sibling, or reaching puberty; others may entail unfortunate events like bullying, divorce of parents, or death of a loved one. And while these hurdles sometimes work themselves out, they can become problematic for some children, creating extra stress and tension on the entire family.
Indications for Child Therapy
Children have difficulties putting words to their feelings and problems; instead, they tend to act out their conflicts by withdrawing or acting out. Examples of this include aggressive or defiant behaviors, bedwetting, refusing to go to school, poor school performance, and a lack of friends, to mention a few. These behaviors contribute to additional strain on the home life and can make parenting seem like an impossible task. Suggesting child therapy may be a good next step.
Child therapy looks a little different from that of adults. As mentioned, children do not easily put words to their struggles. Rather, the natural language for a child is play. In play therapy, a child can find her own voice and express herself in an environment free of judgment and together, the child and therapist can safely explore the worries and troubles and find better and more resourceful ways of tackling them. Further, play therapy can help a child make smoother transitions and teach him or her how to tackle current troubles, while building strengths and resources to deal with future demands. I like to include parents frequently in sessions because I believe that by doing so, we can work together to find ways to make the experience in therapy one from which the whole family can unite and grow together, and, ultimately get a more optimistic outlook on the future.
At some point, older children and adolescents are able to start putting words to their feelings and thoughts. For these children, play therapy may not be a good fit. It is important to meet children of every age where they are at, both emotionally and developmentally and I tailor each child’s therapy and treatment with this in mind. For some children and adolescents, therapy sessions may mimic those of adults while incorporating games and activities that promote opening up and building trust.
Make an Appointment for Child Therapy
When you call to make an appointment I will talk with you over the phone and listen to what is troubling the family and child. If I think I can help, I will schedule an appointment with the parents at my Oakland office for a more detailed picture of the situation as well as evaluate whether it would be a good idea to start to see the child for individual session. If we determine that child therapy would best serve your family, I schedule several meetings with the child for an evaluation period, where I can collect impressions about areas in which the child is struggling as well as where he or she is thriving and managing well. Then, I meet with the parents again to talk about my impressions and suggestions for treatment. I typically see children for therapy once a week for a 50-minute session, depending on their age and attention span. I offer a sliding scale depending on availability and individual need.