Child Counseling is a systematic process where the psychological health of a child is accessed through his behavioral, intellectual, social, and other systematic interventions. Post accessing, intervention strategies are devised which help in the personal and professional growth of the child.
When to Seek Child Therapy?
Due to the prevalence of mental health awareness in recent times, a wide variety of mental health problems have been observed in kids and teens in recent times. With the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, these mental health issues have become more widespread and noticeable than ever before.
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Child Mental Health Statistics 2021
As per the data shared by Mental Health Foundation, 1 out of every 10 children suffer from a mental health problem. In today’s modern world, people are increasingly concerned about physical well-being, and thus, mental health is completely being ignored. Almost 70% of these mental health problems do not get professional help or support. (source)
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Who are Child Counselors?
Child counselors are professionals who are specialized in treating behavioral, emotional, and mental health disorders of a child or teen. The counselors might sit either at a private clinic or in a hospital, providing child/teen mental health and well-being services. Child counselors provide mental health therapy to children in order to treat any underlying mental issues that may be disturbing the child.
Both children and adults can experience trauma, pain, or any other grief. But the way both handle a difficult situation is very different in nature. A child might get confused and not understand how to behave or react to the situation, whereas an adult might have a better mindset to handle stress in a much better manner. That’s where the child counselors come in.
How Child Counselors Work
Child counselors are trained to get inside the child’s mind to understand what is troubling them. Most of the time, the child or the person closest to them might not be able to understand that the he/she is facing some kind of trouble. It is the job of a child counselor to step in and simplify this situation and understand the underlying issues. Child counselors are mental health specialists who are trained to offer mental and emotional insights that could positively contribute to the child’s personal and academic development.
What Does a Child Counselor Do?
Child counselors are also referred to as child therapists or child psychologists. The child counselor’s primary job is to provide a safe and healthy environment for the child so that they can open up and share what is troubling them.
Child counselors step in when parents are unable to cope with a particular mental, emotional or behavioral situation. When the child is very young, the child counselor first interacts and discusses the problem and the process of counseling with the caretaker and parents. However, if the child has reached a certain age, then the counselor can directly talk with the child in such cases.
A child counselor can use a variety of tools and mediums like role play, charts, diagrams, storytelling sessions, video sessions, and others to treat mental health issues and problems. Through this, the counselor tries to gauge the reason and level of distress among the kids.
Most of the time, it is observed that the person close to the child is often unaware that something is bothering their child or teen. They often miss signs and symptoms of mental health issues. And that’s when the job of a child counselor really begins. A child counselor tries to get into the mind of the child and find out the reason for their distress. Also, they do their best in filtering out negative thoughts and bringing positive thoughts into their mind for a happier, more productive lifestyle.
Difference Between Child Counseling and Child Therapy
Child therapy and child counseling all belong to the same school of thought. Both are healthcare professionals who specialize in the field of mental health. And, both are equally targeted to improve the child’s mental status so that the child benefits in the long run.
Child therapy is long-term when compared to child counseling. Child counseling focuses on specific issues, addressing problems, and helping come up with the best solution. Child therapy is part of child counseling.
Child Counselors are mental health professionals who have obtained a master’s in psychology, counseling, or any related field. In case someone aims to be a licensed professional counselor, then after graduation, they need to have an additional two years of experience in mental health.
Child Therapy is a much broader term that includes concerns about a child’s mental health. A parent can take his or her child to a therapist even when he/she is not eating correctly or not feeling right. The job of the child therapist includes understanding the problem, solving it, and sometimes even prescribing some treatments that go beyond his portfolio as a medical professional. A child therapist can obtain a degree in child psychology or social work with a specialization in child mental health. After completing graduation within two years of practice, he/she can become a child therapist.
Signs Your Kids Need Therapy
Most of the time, parents are unable to read the signs that their child or teen needs help. But if you observe your child’s behavior or his daily routine closely, then you would surely notice some signs to ascertain that they are not behaving like their usual selves. Whatever is the reason or situation, it is very important that you seek professional help of a child therapist if you notice something peculiar. Even a slight delay might lead to negative consequences if the symptoms persist.
Here are the signs that suggest your child or teen needs therapy:
The feeling of being less confident. Pay attention if your child is avoiding crowds, or might be wanting to stay inside their room in order to avoid social interactions.
Check if their academic performance is constantly dropping. Make sure to meet teachers at regular intervals to find out any unusual behavior.
Make sure they sleep properly. Check for changes in sleep cycles or if they face any kind of sleepwalking issues or bad dreams.
Keep a close watch on their interactions and behavior with other family members, friends, people in their close circle, and even general acquaintances.
Regularly check what they are doing in their leisure time when alone. For instance, if they are constantly murmuring something to themselves or writing out-of-the-norm journal entries. Also, make sure that they are not engaged in any kind of self-destructive activities or behavior. Keep a check on their thoughts, and whether they are negative in nature.
Types of Child Counseling
One of the most common questions a parent regularly asks is the type of child therapy best suited for their child or teen. There are different types of child therapy depending on behavioral symptoms or underlying mental health issues. Since each child is unique, their needs are also unique and, subsequently, there are different kinds of therapies to cater to such requirements.
A therapist either visits the child or a parent to find out the best therapy for the child or teen, or parents go for an in-office visit with a child counselor or therapist. Most therapists use a combination of one or two types of child therapies, along with medication if required.
Here, we have broadly classified some of the major types of child counseling techniques:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
This is one of the most common therapies most counselors use as the first stage of treatment. CBT for kids addresses depression or anxiety issues among children. With this therapy, children begin to have a positive outlook towards life, and thus, parents will gradually notice a huge change in their attitude.
Dialect Behavior Therapy
DBT teaches kids to have control over their emotions. A child’s world is quite complex and their feelings & emotions are varied in nature. With this therapy, they will be much more content and experience fewer mood swings.
This is a group therapy where the entire family undergoes family therapy sessions. When the needs of the entire family are addressed, then the child also benefits at the same time. After all, a happy family results in a happy child.
Child-Centered Play Therapy
In this type of child therapy, various tools and play items are involved in the treatment methodology. The child is allowed to play freely, and the therapist tries to understand his problems or emotions in the playing behavior. This therapy also involves talk and play sessions as well.
Pharmacotherapy is a form of child therapy where the use of medicine is involved. Here, the child is prescribed different medications based on his needs. The child usually faces withdrawal symptoms or drug cravings in this type of therapy.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
Parent-child therapy offers real-time interactions between both parents and the child. The parent and child are asked to talk, discuss and sort the various issues affecting the familial relationship. In this therapy, it is assumed that there is no better way to solve a problem than communicating about the issues openly.
When to Seek Child Counseling
There has been an immense focus in recent times on child mental health and development. It is disturbing for a parent to see such a large number of child suicides when it comes to child or teen’s mental health. The number of children who struggle with depression is rising, and parents are often clueless about how to deal with their kids’ problems.
Experts believe that therapists and counselors are a positive ray of hope in the direction of improved mental health for children. Timely intervention and understanding the early signs is one of the most important steps a parent or guardian can take. There are some underlying rules you should know before you begin to understand your child’s behavior. Firstly, keep in mind that all children throw tantrums. Children and teens are very hyperactive and energetic, especially during their developmental years. Thus, it is very important to understand that their outbursts and mood swings are very common in these years. However, if such behavior seems odd or peculiar in your child or teen, you should seek the help of a professional child counselor.
Childhood is often associated with peer comparison. In case you are observing worrisome behavior in your child and are unsure of what to make of it, then the best idea is to observe their peers. Also, it’s highly advised as a parent to communicate and ask questions. Make it a habit to ask how your children are feeling and listen to what they have to say with an open mind. Pay close attention to their tone and how they behave with others as well. This will help you to understand if something is out the ordinary, and whether your child or teen should consult a counselor or therapist.
Finding Child Counselors and Therapists Online
Technology has impacted our lives in multiple ways and has an answer for almost everything. Thus, when it comes to the mental health of your child, technology offers the best solution – online child therapy. With a simple google search, you can easily find the best child therapist for your child or teen. Your child is precious and you must trust experts to do the right thing. Thus, when choosing a child counselor, make sure to pick the best in the market. United We Care is a leading name in the mental health domain. We are pioneers when it comes to child counseling and therapy. With a large network of psychologists, social workers, health care workers and child therapists, our experts are specialists in understanding & diagnosing a child’s mental state and improving their mental health and well-being. Download our all-in-one mental health app today: click here to download!