Child and adolescent psychotherapy helps children and young people (0-25) better understand their feelings and thoughts of worry, anger, confusion or sadness that are difficult to say out loud.
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists are trained to help children to unlock what lies underneath their difficulties and better understand themselves. We tailor our approach to the individual child, and work in an age-appropriate way, assessing and supporting the whole child, their family or care unit, through a combination of talking, play and drawing.
Child and adolescent psychotherapy has a positive impact on relationships and behaviour in the home and school, and helps the child to become better able to concentrate, manage themselves and work through their emotions.
How it can help
Beginning to understand a young person’s distress plays a vital part in supporting and containing difficulties. We start by listening carefully to what the young person communicates, by what they say and how they show their feelings. Child Psychotherapists pay close attention to how a child or young person communicates their feelings and experiences through talking or play. Working at the pace of the child and young person we help gather together feelings that can be overwhelming, even out of control. Relationships at home and at school can then start to feel better.
Why it can help
Naming feelings and making sense of the immediate worries is an important step for the young person to experience feeling heard and understood. Whilst difficulties and feelings might not immediately show themselves to the therapist it is always important for the Psychotherapist to think about and understand what lies underneath and behind these difficulties. Feelings and behaviour such as aggression, sadness, anxiety and hyperactivity frequently have a story to tell.
Emotions and behaviour can be complicated. With children and adolescents they can be particularly vulnerable when they are in the midst of their development and have experiences which are too much for them to manage. Having a trained professional to talk to can help prevent feelings and relationships worsening and help plan the right kind of support for future progress.
The ACP has published a guide which answer questions about child and adolescent psychotherapy: what it is, how it can help improve outcomes for children, young people and families and how you can access this service.