Therapy is a very powerful tool to help adults make sense of their emotions and behavior patterns, whether they suffer from a mental illness or not. The same can be said for children, especially if they suffer from emotional or behavioral problems.
Does Your Child Need Therapy
But therapy for children is different from therapy for adults. Here are some of the most effective types of therapies for children.
Young children can’t express their feelings and emotions the same way adults can, and sometimes even adults have trouble expressing their emotions.
Art therapy combines art and psychotherapy to help children (and adults) explore their emotions and relieve stress by painting, drawing, sculpting, and just creating art.
In children specifically, it’s a form of play and won’t seem like therapy to them at all. This unique form of therapy encourages self-exploration and purposeful meaning-making.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most popular forms of therapy for both kids and adults. CBT is especially helpful for children who have experienced sexual abuse and now suffer from depression and anxiety as a result from it.
The main goal of CBT is to teach the client to change their thought patterns and behaviors. This may sound like it’s too much for children to handle, but CBT has been very successful at changing behavior.
Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT)
Some children may experience tics or other involuntary movements. The goal of CBIT therapy is to replace the tics with a more acceptable behavior by identifying its triggers and reducing the urge to tic.
CBIT is mainly used to help children and adults who suffer from Tourette Syndrome, a type of tic disorder. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Tourette Syndrome, but this type of treatment therapy proves to be helpful in individuals suffering from this tic disorder.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Children experience emotions in the same way adults do, but some children may need additional help in regulating their emotions. This is where dialectical behavioral therapy comes in.
Children easily become overwhelmed with their emotions, resulting in excessive crying and temper tantrums, but as they get older they will learn how to regulate their emotions.
Some children may not learn so easily, so DBT teaches kids how to work with (not against) their emotions and behavior.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Children can experience OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) just like adults can, and this may stem from some sort of depression or anxiety they’re experiencing, but don’t know how to explain in words.
Similar to CBT, the child is gradually exposed to the things that may be causing their fear and anxiety, such as a specific phobia or certain social settings.
Family-Focused Therapy (FFT)
Sometimes, it’s not just one particular child that will benefit from therapy, but the entire family.
Children are just one part of a family, and family therapy helps the child thrive, as well as all other members. FTT gets the entire family involved in solving problems, helping them to come to a solution quicker.
FTT also teaches each member of the family communication and interaction skills that helps strengthen their relationship.
In the same way art therapy helps children express their feelings and emotions, play therapy helps children resolve psychosocial issues.
There are different modalities within play therapy, but overall, a session will involve a child playing with various toys, as children learn and communicate through play.
Play therapists are trained to pick up on and interpret themes that may occur in your child’s play and then assimilate skills to help them regulate their emotions. During sessions, play is not structured, but rather happens organically and the child leads the flow of the therapy session, though there are limits set to ensure the child’s safety.
If you feel like your child will benefit from therapy, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for advice. Seeking therapy for your child doesn’t imply that he or she isn’t normal, but it does mean you want to help them feel their best.