At Heartland Therapy Connection, we believe in the importance of mental health during every stage of life. This is no different for children. Our formative years create a foundation for creating a sense of self and learning our place in the world. This often follows through our entire lives. At HTC, we work with our clients to find any patterns and behaviors that began during the early years of childhood. These have lasting impact as people develop. We are committed to working with children to develop healthy coping skills to weather life’s ups and down more effectively.
As a parent/guardian, your role in your child’s mental health is pivotal. Children are still learning how to communicate their emotional needs. It’s up to the adults in their lives to see the signs when something is wrong and intervene. Your child’s mood changes suddenly and without warning, settling for long periods in sadness or irritability. You notice changes in their normal patterns of sleeping of eating. Maybe they become shy and withdrawn. You might notice their friend group is starting to dwindle. Perhaps even more concerning, their behavior starts to become aggressive and affects their progress in school or their relationships with family. All these are possible signs of a serious issue that could benefit from counseling for your child.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING CHILDREN’S COUNSELING
Children express their inner world through play. At Heartland Therapy Connection, your child’s therapist will utilize play during therapy to help your child find a safe place to communicate what is happening internally. Our goal is to provide a safe, therapeutic atmosphere where your child will feel welcome to express their thoughts and their emotions. Play then becomes blended with talk therapy. Our therapists will teach important skills such as validation and emotional regulation. Utilizing evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and narrative therapy, we explore the interaction between a child’s thoughts and feelings. In this way, we can help them understand how those dynamics impact their actions. By discussing the difficult emotions they are facing and working through coping skills to handle the distress, your child will gain the skills necessary to view their problems as problems and not part of their identities.
INDIVIDUAL THERAPY OR FAMILY THERAPY?
The short answer is both! Throughout the therapeutic process with your child, we will use a blend of individual therapy and family therapy to achieve your child’s therapy goals. Sessions will be predominantly between the child and their therapist in order to give your child a safe place to discuss difficult issues with someone. However, as family involvement in therapy is often helpful to reinforce the skills learned in the therapy session, parents/guardians will be regularly updated regarding progress and any underlying concerns that need to be addressed. Quite often, your child’s therapist may act as a moderator to help facilitate discussions among the family. The more support a child has in their therapy goals, the more successful they will be!
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER COUNSELING
Through counseling, your child will have access to a “tool box” of coping skills to help handle difficult emotions and distressing situations. They will have a better understanding of what it means to regulate their emotions. These skills can help them be better able to control their emotional state. In addition, they will have learned effective communication skills that can be used to convey their emotions to you and other important people in their lives. In short, they will have a more stable foundation to work from as they continue to grow into the amazing person they will become!