In life, challenges are inevitable, and there will certainly be significant events that can affect an individual’s well-being. And although children may still be engrossed in their world of play, they can be greatly affected by these circumstances. While some children can effectively deal with life’s many challenges, some kids may have difficulty coping.
If your family is dealing with a life-changing event, and you feel that your efforts in helping your child are not effective, it may already be the time to consider therapy. You can begin by talking to the people who constantly interact with your child. Your child’s teacher or caregiver may also notice certain changes, which may be of help in trying to determine the right therapy.
While some parents may not be amenable to bringing a child to a therapist, there are others who feel that it can bring about positive changes in their child. Ultimately, you will have to make this crucial decision basing on your own instincts. Aside from developmental delays and learning or attention problems, parents may seek the help of a therapist due to the following reasons:
– Very aggressive behavior
– Significant change in academic performance
– Withdrawal or isolation
– Loss of interest on previously enjoyed activities
– Frequent complaints of physical symptoms with no underlying cause
– Any indication of eating disorder
– Problems in school like bullying or excessive tardiness or absenteeism
– Coping difficulties due to divorce, relocation, heartbreak, etc.
– Signs of alcohol or drug abuse
Choosing the right therapist is essential for the treatment to be effective. You can ask your child’s doctor for referrals, or you may ask other family members, friends and even your co-workers for any therapist they can recommend. Although you have to consider a therapist’s educational background and experience, it is also vital that you consider whether your child will feel comfortable to share personal things with that person.
In choosing a therapist, you may encounter professionals with different specializations. Therapists may have a degree in the field of psychology, social work or psychiatry, and they all have to meet the licensing requirements required in a state. It may then help if you have an idea about their scope of practice.
Psychiatrists are physicians specializing in psychiatry. They are one of the few mental health professionals who can prescribe medications. Clinical psychologists on the other hand, have doctorate degrees and many of them specialize in treating children and their families. However, psychologists do not prescribe medications, but they can help their clients manage their prescribed treatments.
You may also learn that there are licensed clinical social workers. They are actually clinicians with a master’s degree in social work. They have specialized knowledge, education, and training focused on human behavior, psychology and problem solving. They are trained to help clients or even families deal with emotional problems, and conflicts at home, school or at work.
It can be frightening for a child when he is told to have therapy. It is then important for parents to try to make a child feel at ease about the whole process. Make sure that your child knows why he is going to the sessions, and that he clearly knows that it is different from doctor visits involving shots or check-ups. An older child may also be relieved to hear, that what he will share during therapy is strictly confidential. Reassure your child that the therapist is a person who will help him, and even the entire family if necessary.
As parents, we would always want to help our children in our own ways. But in times when our efforts may no longer be enough, it helps to know that there are other people we can ask help from.