Children and Adolescent Counseling

As parents, we like to think of childhood with a sense of nostalgia and wonder. We strive to create a place of safety and security for your children, where they can feel nurtured and loved, valued and respected. However, in the modern world, this can be very difficult to achieve. When our children find themselves facing problems that are bigger than what the parents can help them solve, it is time to find a professional counselor.

Heritage Counseling Center, Inc., has assisted children as young as 3 with problems such as anxiety, attention problems or hyperactivity, adjusting to changes in the family, developmental delays and behavioral concerns. The focus is not on labeling the child, but on strengthening his or her ability to face the problem they are encountering. Techniques used include play therapy, art therapy, and family counseling. Parents are included as part of the treatment plan for young children, so that the new techniques being learned in counseling can be encouraged in other environments as well.

Older children can also benefit from counseling when facing challenges at school, at home, or with their peer group. Children often develop anxiety, depression, ADHD, or adjustment disorders. While medication is a viable option for some children, it is always a good idea to explore other options first, or to use behavioral counseling in conjunction with a medication regiment. Often, parents are asked to attend the diagnostic session without the child present in order to more freely speak of the challenges the child is facing and to decide on a treatment plan. There are a variety of options available with deciding how to proceed, and the preference of the parents, the personality of the child, the history of the family, and the presenting problem all need to be considering before deciding on a course of treatment. Play, art and familiy therapy are options, as is individual therapy focused on developing social, coping or anger management skills. Parents are typically kept informed of treatment progress and skill development, even if they are not participating in the bulk of the session.

For teens and tweens, the parent-child relationship often changes, and kids do not confide as much in their parents as they did when they were younger. It can often be helpful to have another adult that the adolescent can open up to, and that the parent trusts to give sound advice. Stresses also increase as children enter middle and high school, as do the temptations to engage in risky behavior. Those teens who face mental health challenges are especially at risk during this time, and a good relationship with a caring adult is absolutely essential. Counselors can help to teach positive coping skills to face these challenges, and can provide guidance to make good decisions.

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