Children's behavior has meaning.
Let us help you understand what is happening behind your child's behaviors.
Children can face many challenges, big or small, that are difficult for them to deal with. It’s important children have the tools necessary to handle these challenges in a safe way that will help them grow as individuals.
Sequoia Counseling Center works to provide children with the tools they need to cope, while also providing the additional support they may need.
Unlike adults, whose natural communication is verbal, the natural channel of communication for a child is through activity and play. In session, play is intentional, purposeful, and meaningful. It’s far more than a simple play date.
Play therapy is a therapeutic modality that seeks to facilitate a child’s expression and exploration of their emotional world, while the therapist conceptualizes the communicative world of the child. Children are allowed to initiate self-directed and spontaneous play, expressing themselves fully in a safe place to communicate, cathart, and heal. Feelings that are too hard or impossible to express are safely projected onto and depicted through self-chosen toys and play. The therapist helps the child identify feelings so that the child can better understand not only what is going on in their own mind, but also how to express it to others.
In play therapy, children have an opportunity to work through past events and associated feelings, work up to future and anxiety-provoking situations, and understand present feelings and emotions. The therapist looks for underlying themes, patterns, and meanings hidden underneath the child’s outward expression, as play therapist Gary Landreth noted that children’s feelings are often inaccessible at an oral level.
Play therapy can be used with children anywhere from ages 3-12 depending on maturity level. Children that appear too mentally old for play therapy can benefit from child therapy (see the section on child therapy).
During the play therapy process, parents act as a partner to the therapist. Any effort by the therapist to be beneficial to the child must start with a consistent and productive relationship with the caregivers, as they play a significant role in the children's lives. It is imperative that the caregiver assists the play therapist with consistent information, discuss the effectiveness of restructured parenting skills, and implement any other beneficial therapeutic recommendation by the therapist.
If you are ready to collaboratively work with your child and your child’s therapist to understand their emotions, learn how to cope with life’s stressors, and improve their quality of life, click the button below to contact us.
When is child counseling needed?
It’s important to remember that every child is unique. We all have different responses to the world around us, and the reasons for seeking counseling aren’t the same from child to child. However, there are some situations that appear more prevalent when considering if a child needs counseling.
It’s an unfortunate occurrence in schools, and even within a child’s friendship group. Bullying lowers self-confidence, negatively impacts a child’s self-image, and can even end up causing physical harm.
As hard as it is for parents, it can be just as hard on the children in a family going through a divorce. Sometimes, parents can be too close to the situation to be able to help effectively. In these cases, a professional can help speak to your child, easing concerns from all sides of the family.
Anxiety, Depression, and Mental Health Issues
Parents aren’t always equipped to help children with mental health issues. A professional is able to provide assistance to a child in terms of teaching them to manage their anxiety or depression, but can also advise parents on how best to support their child going forward. A child’s diagnosis isn’t always straightforward, either. The CDC reports that 73.8% of children aged 3-17 with depression also have an anxiety diagnosis.
All children will react differently to experiencing a traumatic event, but in most cases, professional help eases the stress surrounding the situation and teaches children and adolescents how to process such events.
Acting Out of the Ordinary
Has your once social child become a recluse? Are they eating less than normal? Any behavior that differs from their personal norm could be a sign that your child is struggling in some way. Aggression, anxiety, academic decline, and substance abuse indicate that they could benefit from seeking professional help.