what is child counselling ? | 6 signs that your child needs it
Child counselling involves therapy to assess the issues that the child is experiencing. The process of child counselling involves the assessment of the child, parents, their school environment, their temperament, habits, likes-dislikes and psychometric tests. This helps in identifying the problem hence providing the best possible solution. Parental counselling is also conducted along with the child for professional tips and advice to deal with their child.
Signs that a child may require counselling
1. Behavior problems at home and outside of the home
It is important to be aware of where and when your child acts out especially if behaviours are out of place in certain situations. Homelife such as family dynamics can impact the behaviour of a child. The behaviour of a child can also dramatically change during times of emotional stress especially if these stresses are associated with major life changes. This can be when they are moving to a new house or losing a loved one. Over time, the child’s behaviour would usually improve however some children have more trouble adjusting compared to others.
2. Sudden changes or withdrawal in usual interests and habits
A shift in interests and habits such as withdrawal and loss of interest from any activities in which the child was very interested can show that there may be underlying reasons for their mental wellbeing. These can be symptoms of depression. It is essential during this period to determine if the disinterest is mood-related or merely fatigue from engaging in that favoured activity. If a child usually enjoys art but has been active in art projects frequently for the past two or more months, he/she may just be tired of engaging in art activities. There can be several underlying factors in which a professional can further assess the shifts in habits and interests
Regression can vary however children would act in a younger or needier way including more temper tantrums, sleeping or eating difficulties or reverting to more immature ways of talking.
Regressions are common when any major life changes take place in the home such as a new sibling is born or when divorce occurs. When a divorce occurs within the child’s family, it can be distressing for a child as children often blame themselves for the situation as a result these children feel unlovable. A child having then to choose between parents can cause the child to feel uneasy, anxious, and guilty, especially when they have to decide who they want to reside with. Additionally, children whose decisions often do not align with their parents or siblings often feel sad, confused, distressed, and overwhelmed.
On a positive note, child counsellors can teach children, who are going through or who have gone through a divorce how to cope with their conflicting and confusing feelings through a wide range of techniques, such as deep breathing, art or music therapy, positive self-talk, journaling, exercising, and talking to a trusted friend or relative about their feelings and thoughts.
4. Social isolation
If your child or teen spending more time in their room and not reaching out to family or friends, this is another sign that they may need to get some extra support. While some children may want a little downtime to themselves, too much alone time can exacerbate depression.
Not sure what social isolation may look like as a child? Here are a few ways that children socially isolate when they are upset:
Eating lunch alone
Avoiding playdates and other social activities
A lack of desire to leave the house for any reason
5. Unusual behaviours
If a child is displaying more heightened distress, frequent crying, sadness, anger, irritability, agitation, or not engaging in previously enjoyable activities this may also signal there are mental health issues that a psychologist could help with. Other things to be aware of are:
Change in sleeping patterns may mean a child may be feeling anxious or depressed. Perhaps the child is having trouble falling asleep due to certain stresses or concern
Repeated biting, hitting or kicking
If your child shows any feelings or ideas of self-harm, it is important that you seek help for them urgently. This can present itself subtly with hints of hopelessness and loneliness. Otherwise, it can be much more direct and can be known with the presence of suicidal thoughts and cutting.
While suicidal thoughts and cutting may seem extreme for younger children, it is important to note that feelings of self-harm can be expressed in various ways. Hitting oneself, banging one’s head against something or digging nails into the skin are signs of self-harm. If you notice any of these behaviours, acknowledge them and seek professional assistance for your child immediately.
Here are more signs that a child may require child counselling
Importance of child counselling
Counselling for children is important especially if they are experiencing any of the above symptoms. Child counsellors are certified mental health specialists with an expert to deal with children. They know how to attend to a child and identify what’s wrong with them. They are trained to go deep inside the mind of children and find the problematic area. It is also an opportunity for the child to learn to regulate their emotions and understand the connection between their feelings and behaviour in order to have more control over them.
The therapist develops a relationship of trust with the child allowing the child to freely express themselves, gain awareness and understanding of the inner-self. This can help the child in the long run with:
Increase in self-esteem and confidence
Decrease of anxiety and depression.
Development of a healthy sense of self
Increase of social competencies
If you notice any signs or symptoms shown above, please seeking online professional help for the benefit of your child, especially during times of Covid. Please rest assured as our professionals are here to help you! If you would like to consult or connect with a professional feel free to download our Cyber Clinic app on the Apple Store or on Google Play. You may also head to how it works on how to download the app. Our practitioners offer Medicare rebates.