Psychotherapy for Children & Teenagers

For Children

Childhood is sometimes looked back on by adults nostalgically as a happy time, however there are challenges children face that can be confusing or distressing. Dealt with early and effectively these can be resolved but if not can generate more stress and anxiety for the child and their family.

When a child is worried or upset they are more likely to withdraw or ‘act out’. This is the behaviour that parents or teachers or health professionals are likely to see and are an indicator that something isn’t ok in that young person’s experience.

Children find talking about their worries difficult as this is not an easy way to communicate; this is where play therapy is helpful. Play is a natural form of communication for a child and they often feel more at ease when they do talk because they are relaxed and not feeling pressured to talk. Children sometimes re-enact an event they have found difficult and this helps them makes sense of what has happened. As the child plays and sometimes talks psychotherapy enables the child to come to an understanding of themselves and their experiences. The child is then able to work through this problem, easing their anxiety and increasing self confidence.

Some of the difficulties a child may experience may include:

  • Inability to concentrate at school
  • Trouble sleeping or nightmares
  • Loss or bereavement of a person or a pet
  • Bullying or issues around friendships
  • Extreme anger or tearfulness

Play therapy is a way of a child finding a way to tell their story and can be done in various ways:

  • Miniature animals
  • Storytelling
  • Painting
  • Clay or playdoh

When a child or young person is able to engage with therapy they are able to explore issues they are facing which helps in various ways:

  • To deal with emotionally difficult issues and learn ways of resolving them
  • Learn to function in a change of environment
  • Assist with developmental milestones
  • Help change their thinking and/or behaviour that is causing problems

For Teenagers and Young Adults

The teenage years are a time of transition and there are a number of reasons for these. Changes are going on within the body, biological and hormonal changes are happening very quickly and outside in the environment with relationships with peers and parents, at school, home or work. It is also a time where a young person is forming their identity which amidst the flux of change can be confusing.

Adolescent psychotherapy can help explore these issues and help a young person through these issues with confidence. It often helps to focus less on talking and more on the use of creative media such as clay, painting or sand tray work.

Some of the difficulties you may experience as a teenager include:

  • Trouble with sleeping
  • Feeling anxious, tense, angry or tearful
  • Feeling like you don’t fit in or not knowing what you want to do
  • Finding it difficult to talk about your worries with your parents
  • Loss through bereavement, separation or divorce
  • Anxiety around school, exams, friendships, bullying
  • Issues around drugs, alcohol or sexual health
  • Making the transition from childhood to adulthood
  • Negotiating the difficult balance between the natural desire to become more involved with peers and less with parents
  • Learning to be able to communicate your needs and express your feelings in a way that maintains enough connection between you and your parents and at the same time reducing conflict.

Psychotherapy using creative media is a way for an adolescent to tell their story and can help you to:

  • Understanding the reasons why you feel the way you do
  • Cope with these feelings and find ways of expressing them
  • Improve relationships with friends or family members
  • Become more aware of yourself and the impact you have
  • Be and feel supported with setting goals and achieving them
  • Feel more able to communicate your thoughts and feelings to others