Psychotherapy can help children and adolescents when problems interfere with normative emotional growth and development. Children take part in therapy for many reasons, including anxiety, social difficulties, depression, learning and behavior issues, parental divorce, family issues or in response to grief and loss.
Successful psychotherapy for children and teens addresses the underlying cause of problems while helping them to create a strong psychological foundation. The best child therapy is based on the individual needs of the child as well as a clear understanding of the child’s environment, including the biological, social, psychological, educational and family situation.
The most important foundation for therapy is the relationship between the child and the therapist as well as a strong collaborative relationship with parents. A warm therapeutic relationship encourages children to talk about, play about and solve problems while developing the skills that they need in order to function at home, in school and in the community. During therapy young children often communicate through play; older children and adolescents usually prefer to talk. The goal of the therapist is to create a safe therapeutic environment in which the child or teen can comfortably express himself or herself in order to develop self-understanding, skills and new, lasting changes in their well-being, emotions and behavior. Understanding the developmental stages that children and adolescents are navigating helps the therapist facilitate growth and healthy development for each unique child.