All a Parent’s need to know about Child Counselling and Therapy
“Child counselling is a systematic process in which a child’s mental health is accessed through behavioural, intellectual, social and other systematic interventions. According to data shared by the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 10 children suffer from mental health problems. Counsellors are either a private Can provide child/adolescent mental health and wellness services in a clinic or hospital setting. Most of the time, the child or the person closest to them is not able to understand what kind of problem they are experiencing. A child counsellor plays a role in treating mental health issues and problems, One can use various tools and media like charts, diagrams, story telling sessions, video sessions and others. In this type of child therapy, various tools and play items are involved in the treatment process. Pharmacotherapy is a form of child therapy that involves the use of drugs. Combats depression. The number of such children is increasing, and parents are often ignorant of how to deal with their children’s problems. Intervening in time and understanding the early signs is one of the most important steps a parent or guardian can take. Technology has impacted our lives in multiple ways and has an answer for almost everything.
Child counselling is a systematic process in which the mental health of a child is accessed through behavioural, intellectual, social and other systematic interventions. After admission, intervention strategies are developed that help the child’s personal and professional growth.
When to take child therapy?
Due to the prevalence of mental health awareness in recent times, a variety of mental health problems have been observed among children and adolescents in recent times. With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, these mental health issues have become more widespread and noticeable than ever.
Child Mental Health Statistics 2021
According to data shared by the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 10 children suffer from mental health problems. In today’s modern world, people are increasingly concerned about physical well-being, and thus, mental health is being completely ignored. About 70% of these mental health problems do not receive professional help or support. ( source )
Who are Child Counsellors?
Child counsellors are professionals who specialise in the treatment of behavioural, emotional, and mental health disorders in a child or adolescent. Counsellors can provide child/adolescent mental health and wellness services either in a private clinic or hospital setting. Child counsellors provide children with mental health therapy to treat any underlying emotional problems that may be troubling the child.Both children and adults can experience trauma, pain or other distress. But the way both of them deal with difficult situations is quite different in nature. A child may be confused and not understand how to behave or react to a situation, whereas an adult may have a better mindset to handle stress better. That’s where child counsellors come in.
How Child Counsellors Work?
Child counsellors are trained to get inside a child’s mind to understand what is troubling them. Most of the time, the child or the person closest to them is not able to understand what kind of problem he is facing. It is the job of a child counsellor to ease this situation and understand the underlying issues. Child are mental health professionals trained to provide psychological and emotional insights that can positively contribute to a child’s personal and academic development.
What does a child Counsellor do?
Child counsellors are also referred to as child therapists or child psychologists. A child counsellor’s primary job is to provide a safe and healthy environment for the child to open up and share what is troubling them.
Child counsellors help when parents are unable to cope with a particular mental, emotional or behavioural situation. When the child is very young, the child counsellor first discusses the problem and counselling process with caregivers and parents. However, if the child reaches a certain age, the counsellor can talk directly with the child in such cases. A child counsellor uses various tools like role playing, charts, diagrams, story telling sessions, video sessions and others to treat mental health problems and issues. can use medium. Through this, the counsellor tries to determine the cause and extent of distress in the child.
Most of the time, the person close to the child is often unaware that something is bothering their child or teenager. They often miss the signs and symptoms of mental health problems. And that’s when the child counsellor begins. A child counsellor tries to get into the child’s mind and find the cause of their suffering. Also, they do their best to filter out negative thoughts and bring positive thoughts into their minds for a happier, more productive lifestyle.
Difference between child counselling and child therapy
Child therapy and child counselling all belong to the same school of thought. Both are healthcare professionals who specialise in mental health. And, both are equally aimed at improving the emotional state of the child so that the child benefits in the long run.
Child therapy is more long-term than child counselling. Child counselling focuses on specific problems, solves the problems and helps to come up with the best solutions. Child therapy is part of child counselling.
Child counsellors are mental health professionals who have a master’s degree in psychology, counselling, or a related field. If someone aims to become a licensed professional counsellor, after graduation, they must have an additional two years of experience in mental health.
Child therapy is a much broader term that encompasses concerns about a child’s mental health. A parent can take their child to a therapist even when he or she is not eating or feeling well. A child therapist’s job includes understanding the problem, solving it, and sometimes prescribing treatments that go beyond his portfolio as a medical professional. A child therapist can earn a degree in child psychology or social work with a specialty in child mental health. After graduating with two years of practice, she can become a child therapist.
Signs Your Child Needs Therapy: Most of the time, parents are unable to read the signs that their child or teen needs help. But if you closely observe your child’s behaviour or their daily routine, you will definitely notice some signs that they are not behaving as they normally would. Whatever the reason or situation, it is very important that you seek the professional help of a child therapist if you notice anything strange. Even a slight delay can lead to negative consequences if the symptoms persist.
Here are signs that suggest your child or teen needs therapy:
Self-confidence – Feelings of being less confident. Pay attention if your child avoids crowds, or prefers to stay in his room to avoid social interaction.
Spatial aptitude – check whether their academic performance is steadily declining. Be sure to meet with teachers at regular intervals to spot any unusual behavior.
Sleep habits – Make sure they sleep properly. Check for changes in sleep cycles or if they experience sleep problems or bad dreams.
Interactions – Pay close attention to their interactions and behaviour with other family members, friends, their close circle and even casual acquaintances.
Retirement Work– Regularly check in on what they are doing alone in their spare time. For example, if they are constantly muttering something to themselves or writing journal entries outside of the norm. Also, make sure they don’t engage in any self-destructive activities or behaviours. Keep their thoughts in check, and whether they are negative in nature.
Types of Child Counseling –
One of the questions a parent regularly asks is what type of child therapy is best for their child or teen. There are different types of child therapy depending on the behavioral symptoms or underlying mental health issues. Since every child is unique, their needs are also unique and subsequently, there are different types of therapy to meet such needs
A therapist either meets with the child or parent to find the best therapy for the child or teen, or the parents make an office visit with a child counsellor or therapist. Most therapists use a combination of one or two types of child therapy with medication as needed.
Here, we have broadly categorised some of the main types of child counselling techniques:
1. Cognitive behaviour therapy
This is one of the most common therapies that most counsellors use in the early stages of treatment. CBT for children addresses depression or anxiety problems in children. Through this therapy, children begin to have a positive outlook towards life and thus, parents will gradually notice a huge change in their outlook.
2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DBT teaches children to control their emotions. A child’s world is quite complex and their feelings and emotions are varied in nature. With this therapy, they will experience greater satisfaction and fewer mood swings.
3. Family therapy
It is a group therapy where the whole family goes through family therapy sessions. When the needs of the entire family are met, the child also benefits. After all, a happy family results in a happy child.
4. Child-centred play therapy
In this type of child therapy, various tools and play items are involved in the treatment process. The child is allowed to play freely and the therapist tries to understand his problem or emotions in the play behaviour. This therapy also involves talking and play sessions.
Pharmacotherapy is a form of paediatric therapy that involves the use of drugs. Here, the child is given different medicines based on his needs. Children in this type of therapy usually experience withdrawal symptoms or drug cravings.
6. Parent-child interaction therapy
Parent-child therapy provides real-time interaction between both parent and child. Parents and children are asked to talk, discuss and sort out various issues that affect the family relationship. In this therapy, it is assumed that there is no better way to solve problems than to communicate openly about them.
When to take child Counselling?
In recent times, much attention has been paid to child mental health and development. Seeing such a large number of child suicides is disturbing for a parent when it comes to child or adolescent mental health. The number of children struggling with depression is increasing, and parents are often clueless about how to deal with their children’s problems.
Experts believe that therapists and counsellors are a positive ray of hope towards improving children’s mental health. Intervening in time and understanding the early signs is one of the most important steps a parent or guardian can take. Before you can begin to understand your child’s behaviour, you should know some ground rules. First, remember that all children have tantrums. Children and teenagers are very active and energetic, especially during their formative years. So, it is very important to understand that their outbursts and mood swings are very common during these years. However, if such behaviour seems odd or strange in your child or teen, you should seek the help of a professional child counsellor.
Childhood is often associated with peer comparison. If you notice worrisome behaviour in your child and are unsure of what to make of it, the best idea is to observe their peers. Also, it is highly recommended to reach out as a parent and ask questions. Make it a habit to ask your children how they feel and listen to them with an open mind. Pay close attention to their tone and how they treat others. This will help you understand if anything is unusual and whether your child or teen should consult a counsellor or therapist.
Author Sradhanjali Dasgupta
Consultant Psychologist, Speaker , Learning Developmental Coach, Teacher and trainer Miss. Sradhanjali Dasgupta has been extensively working in the field of Counselling and education for the past few years in several Clinics, Hospitals, NGOs and educational sectors. She also contributes her writings and blogs in various newspapers, magazines and e- magazines Her training and workshops are both for the corporate as well as for the educational sector and are geared up for learning and development,upgradation and capacity building. She have actively taken part in many debates