The National Health Institute (NHS) tells us that mental health conditions do not only affect adults, children can develop them too. However, developmental age can affect how a person responds to therapy. This is why people have developed therapies for children which have proven to often be more effective for young people.
At The British CBT & Counselling, we offer two types of therapy that we believe to work best for children. Each type can be used as a treatment for different things. These therapies are used to help young people express more complex emotions that they may not yet be able to verbalise. Contrary to some beliefs, just because a person is unable to express their emotion in a traditional manner does not mean they are unable to experience said emotion.
Play therapy is specifically geared towards young children however, it can be used for teenagers and adults under the right circumstances. Due to their age, they may have a limited understanding of what they are feeling and may end up left unable to express it. The feeling of being unheard will only lead to their emotional state worsening. They may end up feeling angry at those around them and experience a sense of isolation and unimportance. This is why it is so important that they are helped to express their feelings.
Young children can often express themselves freely through play. Whether it be drawing a picture or creating a scenario with toys they can express what they are feeling. Therapists can observe this play and this helps them to better understand the inner turmoil that the child may be feeling.
Play can be used not only to express to the therapist what the child is feeling but it can also be used to develop a treatment plan. Once the therapist has a greater understanding of the child’s inner turmoil it can become easier to think of ways in which they can help them to come to terms with their emotions and heal from any trauma.
Research has shown that by including parents or carers of the child in the play therapy you are more likely to see positive results. However, this needs to be done carefully and must be used on a case by case basis. For example, if a child has been demonstrating signs that they may have experienced abuse, bringing a parental figure into the situation may cause them to close up about their experiences.
Children & Teenager Therapy
Children & Teenager Therapy is geared towards older children and teenagers, unlike play therapy. While it can also be used to help children to express challenging emotions or past traumas, it is more often used to help them adapt to life as they grow. With education becoming increasingly difficult and their bodies beginning to change it may leave children feeling stressed and out of control.
Due to so many things in their lives changing, children and teenagers are susceptible to developing mental health conditions such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and many others. By introducing young people to this type of therapy, they can be taught how to navigate challenges and are helped when times get tough. This will give them an advantage in life and help to prevent or minimise the development of mental health conditions.
If a child is starting to show behavioural changes or begins to fail in school it can be easy to assume it is just part of growing up. However, this is not always the case. Approximately 1 in 10 children between the ages of 5 and 16 develop a diagnosable mental health condition. By bringing them to therapy at a younger age it is easier to help them work through their problems and gives them a foundation of support.
Therapy For Children
Many people believe that due to their age, it is often thought that children do not have real problems and cannot develop mental health conditions. This is certainly not the case, anyone is susceptible to developing mental health conditions whether they have experienced a specific trauma or not.
If you think that your child is struggling to express their emotions or that their personality is changing, get in contact with us today.