Child and adolescent psychotherapy in Hope Clinic
Psychotherapy is a form of psychological treatment that includes therapeutic conversation and interaction between the child and psychotherapist. Just like couple’s therapy, child therapy aims to help the family understand and solve the child’s problems, without changing their behaviors.
A child’s psychotherapy program involves regularly scheduled sessions and the therapist’s availability to establish a relationship based on emotional acceptance. In this environment, the child feels free to share their perspective on the world through words or actions.
Child psychotherapy is the collection of specific methods and techniques used to help young ones confront emotional or behavioral difficulties
Why a psychotherapist and not a psychologist?
Child and teenage therapists are better suited for treating young ones than psychologists. They are generally more flexible, more creative people, with a higher capacity of adapting their approach, so that it better corresponds to the child’s age and development stage. They are better equipped to respond to what the child could be trying to express through their behavior and feelings.
While smaller children often communicate through games, older ones and teenagers alike prefer talking. This trust-based relationship that forms between child and psychotherapist is essential for the treatment to take effect.
For teenagers, therapy has been proven to be very useful in allowing them to explore, go through, and understand teenage experiences. In this stage of their development, past traumas or difficulties often resurface. Because of this, providing the teenager with a stable environment in which they can understand these deep levels of anxiety could be the necessary support for furthering their personal growth and individuation process.
Child and adolescent psychotherapy – How many types is it?
There are many types of child psychotherapy, which involve many different techniques, approaches, and interventions. Sometimes, a mix of two or more approaches can be especially helpful. In some cases, medication can support and make the process more efficient.
In The Hope Clinic in Bucharest, Cluj and Iasi, the most used forms of psychotherapy for children and adolescents are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): the child learns by examining their misguided/irrational ways of thinking, and how these can cause emotions and can influence their behavior. Therapists support the child in identifying harmful thought patterns, and replacing them with thoughts that encourage more appropriate behaviors. Studies show this type of psychotherapy is very effective in treating anxiety and depressive disorders in children.
- Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) has proved its utility in helping teenagers with chronic suicidal thoughts, deliberate self-harming behaviors or borderline personality disorder. It focuses on taking responsibility for their own actions and helps examine their ways of tackling conflicts, and the feelings that follow.
- Family therapy helps families function in a positive, constructive way, exploring communication models, providing education and support. Sessions include the child or adolescent, along with their parents, brothers, and/or grandparents.
- Group therapy involves using the group’s dynamic and interactions to raise awareness towards a psychological condition and help improve the members’ social skills
- Play therapyinvolves the use of games, toys, clay, drawing, etc. to help the child observe, recognize, identify, and verbally express their feelings. The psychotherapist notices the way the child makes use of the toys and identifies themes or models with the purpose of understanding the problems they are facing. Through associating games with verbalization, the child has the possibility to understand and better manage their conflicts, emotions, and behavior.
psychotherapist specialized in Adlerian-inspired play therapy:
Play therapy is a fun, engaging way of approaching a child’s behavioral problems, late development problems, or other general difficulties children can encounter while growing up. Since it’s a pleasant, entertaining activity, it’s easy to catch the child’s attention and cooperation. We take advantage of this to obtain quicker, more stable long term results. We ease the child’s recovery process, and develop appropriate behavior. Game-based therapy aims ease the development process of all of a child’s areas of development: social, emotional, cognitive, motor, language, and sensory integrity. Everything takes place within an encouraging environment for a child, following an intervention plan that’s personally tailored to the child the therapist is working with.
Within the Hope Clinic, we mix sensory game methods, cognitive therapy, roleplaying, and other creative activities in order to encourage the child’s contribution and communication.
Adlerian Play Therapy is based on the family’s involvement in the recovery process, and using parent-structured games to help solve the child’s daily problems. Within session time, parents will benefit from therapist counselling, where they will learn how to relate to their own child, and how to tackle their bad behaviors. We base our work on the idea that every child wants to feel like they belong, like they are capable, like they matter, and like they are encouraged. Once these needs are met, the child’s evolution is fast and surprising.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy underlines the importance of understanding the unconscious conflicts or problems, which motivate and influence the child’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. This type of therapy can help identify a child’s typical behavioral patterns, defensive patterns, or determine answers to their internal conflicts. This approach is based on the hypothesis that, once brought to light, the internal conflict, behavior, and emotions of the child will improve.
Child psychotherapy isn’t a quick, easy remedy. It is a complex process that, in time, can reduce and diminish the child’s symptomatology, and offer a new perspective that can improve interpersonal functionality and quality of life. What’s more, it can help the child acquire adaptive psychological abilities for their future.
Psychotherapy for children also involves ample discussion with the child’s family members in order to acquire data. Another option for parents consists of parenting courses, or psychological interventions for the whole family.
When should I seek the services of a child psychotherapist?
Call a psychotherapist specialising in working with children in the following situations:
When you observe states of anxiety, panic and excessive worries;
When communication with parents, peers or teachers is tense and conflictual;
When there is hyperactive behavior, restlessness and the inability to complete proposed tasks. Ex.: does not concentrate at school, does not sit quietly in the bank, homework is not done;
The child is suicidal or threatening to harm themselves;
The child has a sharp drop in school performance;
The child exhibits oppositional behavior to the rules established within the family;
The child suffers from persistent sadness and nightmares;
The child exhibits tics such as chewing of nails, repetitive behaviors, stereotypes;
The child experiences difficulties with verbalization and expression;
The child exhibits states of anger, difficulties in relating;
The child has problems with sleep and/or eating habits;
The child is excessively shy;
The child suffers from nocturne enuresis (urinary incontinence).
Child and adolescent psychotherapy – Benefits
- Increasing the child’s self-confidence
- Improving social skills
- Increasing resistance to frustration
- Decreased frequency of tantrums
- Language and communication development
- Harmonious emotional development
- Development of cognitive skills
- Developing spontaneity and creativity
- Reduced anxiety
- Decreased frequency of stereotyped or inappropriate behavior
- Improving the parent-child relationship