CHILD AND ADOLESCENT THERAPY
When your child is struggling, so are you. Whether it’s aggressive behavior, overwhelming worries, difficulty making friends, or big tantrums, it is painful (and exhausting) to be stuck in a negative pattern with your child. As parents and caregivers we want to do all that we can to help our children thrive.
At Wellspring, we offer therapy services for children and adolescents. Because kids don’t process the same as adults, therapy for kids looks different.
CHILD THERAPY (ages 2-12)
We engage our youngest clients in their most natural language of play. Play Therapy uses evidence-based practices and techniques (Association for Play Therapy) to engage and work with children and their parents to find a new way to address old problems.
Kids process their thoughts and feelings through mediums like art, role play, dress up, and make-believe play. For example, kids can use a sand tray and miniature figures to safely express big and challenging emotions and thoughts. The sand tray offers kids and adults a chance to process and reprocess events in the past, present, and future to make sense of their thoughts, feelings, and everything in between!
Curious to learn more? Check out this short video by the Association for Play Therapy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reJpo-GaopM
ADOLESCENT THERAPY (ages 12-18)
Younger children are more concrete in their thinking and adults can be more abstract. Adolescents fall somewhere in between. Your teen might be turned off at the idea of being grouped with “children” in therapy. Yet their brains are still developing and they need a mix of concrete and abstract work.
We recognize that the needs of people at this age are unique. Depending on the developmental abilities of your child, we tailor our approach to make sure your child feels heard, understood, and empowered to make healthy changes.
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COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THERAPY WITH KIDS:
Q: Do I (the caregiver) get to watch or join sessions?
A: Yes! You are the expert on your child. In order to do the most good, therapists partner with parents to gain information on how the child is struggling. Some sessions might include the whole family, just parents, just the child, or a mixture of the two. Some sessions require more parent engagement. Older kids may wish to have more individual time and invite parents to “check in” regularly.
Q: Can I meet the therapist before my child does?
A: Yes. We understand your desire to “screen” a therapist to make sure that they’ll be a good fit for your child. Most often parents meet with the counselor for the first session (either the entire session or the initial part) in order to share their concerns and get a feel for how the therapist works.
Q: Do both biological parents have to have a part in therapy? What if we’re divorced?
A: It depends! Generally, if your child is spending any time at all with either parent, then both parents are strongly encouraged to be a part of therapy. Why? Because as parents, whether you’re together or separated, you have different thoughts and perspectives on your child that are incredibly valuable to the therapist and the process of therapy. If the child is spending any time in the home of either parent, you may notice similar or different behaviors that can provide insight into how we can help you and your child. Depending on your situation, you may prefer to schedule individual parent sessions with your therapist or you may prefer to meet with your therapist together. If you ever have any questions or concerns, never hesitate to ask.
Q: What are some ways you will engage my child in therapy, especially if they are not a “talker”?
A: We make every attempt to meet your child where they are at and incorporate their likes and strengths into session. This may be done using games, toys, sandtray, metaphors, books, and even coloring. For older kids and adolescents, our therapists are ready and willing to discuss the latest thing that has captured their attention. We are able to tailor sessions for your child’s needs by developing a therapeutic relationship with your child over time.
Q: Will my adolescent have a sense of privacy?
A: Yes! We want our adolescents to feel comfortable to openly share with their therapist. This is why we work on having some parts, and even whole sessions, focused on your adolescent. We hope to foster a sense of privacy where your adolescent can talk and not feel that every word they share will be conveyed back to the parents. We want what is shared in the office between your adolescent and therapist to be held as important and private. Our therapists will work closely with your adolescent to talk with you about important issues, should they need to be shared. Please note: if there are safety issues including harm to self, others, or suspected child abuse, our therapists by law have the right to break confidentiality.