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Individual Therapy - Children

The first session is an initial assessment, where I will spend some time obtaining a detailed history of the presenting issues, development, family and other background factors. This session is usually focused on the parent/ caregiver, while the young child is given some tasks, such as drawing a family picture. In working with older children/ young people, my focus is more on the young person's perspective initially, working to develop trust and a safe space. Parents will be invited in to provide their information at various times, as this is also essential to my gaining a better understanding from a variety of perspectives. If there are background factors that involve distressing events (such as trauma, separation, illness/ death) I will suggest that the first session is with the parent only, as it can be stressful for a child to hear information of that nature, and also trigger trauma/ stress responses if these are events the child has experienced.

My approach with children and families is strengths based, and solution focused. I aim to help families understand what is happening, and why, and develop skills in supporting positive change. Getting to know your child and building up trust with the family/ child is essential for any productive therapeutic work. Unlike adults, children tend to 'wear their problems on their sleeves' and are able to indicate their needs well through their behaviours. Adults, in contrast, often have layers of 'protection' that help them cope (sometimes unhelpfully/ unhealthily). Working with children (and essentially families) can often see positive changes quite quickly.

Working with children/ young people always involves work with the parents/ caregivers. This may involve:

  • Providing information to parents, including an in-depth understanding of the presenting issue and the factors that may be contributing or maintaining the issue.
  • Developing a collaborative plan together, to help your child.
  • Supporting positive parenting strategies.
  • Obtaining regular feedback on changes, progress.
  • Teaching therapeutic change strategies that families can apply.

The therapeutic work with the child/ young person may involve:

  • Play/ creative therapy - for purpose of building the relationship, assessment of the issue and contributing factors.
  • Skill teaching - psychological strategies adapted for children, such as helpful thinking, slow breathing, relaxation, identifying and expressing emotions, calm down strategies, mindfulness skills, social skills and many more.
  • Therapy is essentially about creating a safe and fun space for the child to express their needs, learning helpful coping skills, reinforcing strengths and self-esteem, and helping the child/ family to separate the presenting issue from the child (externalising) and working as a team to solve the issue together.
  • There will be tasks for the parents, and the child to do in-between sessions.