Many parents wonder what age is right for starting child therapy. After all, starting therapy feels like a big decision you do not want to rush. Maybe your child is going through a phase and will get through it on their own. But at the same time, his or her behaviors are affecting the whole family dynamic. Below, the child therapists at Greene Psychology Group help you make the right decision for your loved one and the rest of your family.
Therapy Often Requires Parental Involvement
The word "therapy" typically brings to mind thoughts of one person in a room with their counselor. But child therapy can differ from this more adult image. Young children may not benefit from exclusively one-on-one sessions with their child psychologist. In many cases, one or both parents are also in the room.
It is important to remember that you play a major role in your young person's everyday life. From birth to preteen years, parents are the primary resource for children trying to figure out how to think, act and feel. This connection is critical for their safety. But it also shows the importance of having you involved in child therapy for your young one. This usually differs as children grow, particularly with preteens and teens needing one-on-one sessions more often, if not exclusively, or in conjunction with family therapy.
In deciding whether it is the right time to start child therapy, bear your involvement in mind. You will not be dropping a five year-old off or sitting alone in the waiting room. Instead, you will likely have a hands-on role. That can make a difference, especially if you had fears about leaving a young child in the hands of a "stranger."
How Therapy Changes According to Your Child's Age
There are types of child therapy designed specifically for babies and toddlers. This surprises most parents. Of course, this type of work engages the parent with the infant or toddler. Parents learn in the sessions, too. Their learning focuses on how to help their little one soothe and also how to deal with difficult behaviors. When babies experience trauma, early therapy sessions work particularly well.
As your child ages, you become less involved in the child therapy. For example, you may take part in half of the sessions with a five year-old and only occasional session with your 12 year-old. Your participation with an older child typically revolves around learning about their new coping skills alongside them and practicing those skills at home.
Even when you do not participate in child therapy with your school-aged child, it is important to come into the therapist's office. There are usually a few minutes set aside at the beginning of the session to check in with the parents and talk about progress at home. Middle school and high school aged children typically manage their therapy on their own, unless the therapist requests the parent's presence. Otherwise, your child therapist or child psychologist will discuss expectations for these visits openly with you.
Signs Therapy Can Work for Children
Child therapy can work in a wide variety of circumstances. But most parents want signs of therapy being the right choice, before setting the first appointment. Really, just considering whether your child needs this help is a clear indicator it can help.
It is important to not set problems aside or wait for a big event before scheduling child therapy. Even if you are unsure of whether it will work, therapy can help you properly handle many of the struggles parents face with growing children. Therapy also helps kids with their daily issues associated with school, home life and socialization.
There really is no need to try to manage difficult problems on your own. With access to a child therapist, your struggles can feel much less complex and painful. You can also help everyone in the family enjoy a happier, less stressful life by addressing problems early through child therapy.
Common signs that therapy could help include:
- Struggling with feelings more than other children of the same age
- Problems affecting daily activities
- Difficulty getting along with others, making friends or keeping friends
- Problems began after experiencing a stressful event
- Things seem to be getting worse, not better with time
When trying to decide whether their child needs therapy, parents often overlook their own feelings. Is your child causing you a great deal of stress? Are you overwhelmed by their behaviors or emotions? Do you struggle to help your child handle their feelings? Parents can feel overwhelmed, just as children can. It is important to know when you are feeling near or beyond your own limits, then seek child therapy to help.
Should We Start Adolescents Therapy in Raleigh, North Carolina Now?
If you wonder if your child could benefit from therapy, contact Greene Psychology Group for a consultation. Our licensed child psychologists and child therapists provide a range of therapies for families just like yours. We can help you decide whether you need individual counseling for yourself, child therapy for your son or daughter, or even family therapy as a group. We provide in-person and teletherapy sessions for your convenience. Call us to discuss your options and schedule your first visit today at 919-205-5339.