Children are not just “little people” with problems, struggles and difficulties similar to adults. Each child is unique, and their reactions to day to day situations are usually quite different from adults and others in their environment.
- One moment they may be happy, smiling and actively engaged in playing a favorite game or activity with a friend or family member.
- Another moment they may be isolating themselves, whining, crying or difficult to talk to.
- And in the next moment they may be actively defying our instructions, fighting with their sibling, throwing a temper tantrum, yelling or screaming for what they want and demanding that they get it right now.
Is this happening in your home? Or have you received complaints from your child’s school teacher(s) or daycare providers?
Children usually do not identify that they have a problem. It is up to the parents to recognize problem behavior in their child. If any of the above descriptions describe your child, he or she may benefit from therapy.
About Child Therapy
So ... what is therapy like with children?
Child counseling can help resolve emotional, behavioral and interpersonal problems. It helps the child reduce internal pain, change undesireable behaviors or improve relationships the child has with important people in his or her life. Commonly used methods of child psychotherapy include behavior modification techniques, play therapy, directive counseling, non-directive psychotherapy, family therapy and cognitive therapies.
The relationship between the child and therapist is different from the child's other relationships. The therapist sets appropriate limits, yet listens to the child's thoughts and feelings with a nonjudgmental, supportive attitude. Therapy is spent focusing attention on the child's behavior, thoughts, perceptions, fantasies and feelings. By helping the child achieve more adaptive ways to adjust to life's stressors, their behavior and relationships improve, they experience less conflict and they become more resilient.
At Aspen Counseling Center, we believe that children have the ability to benefit from their own unique space and time if they are given appropriate attention and nurturance. They may even become the 'director' in their play therapy, providing the cues which signify their primary concerns and difficulties. All children coming to our office are given full attention during their time during their appointment. While we support and utilize parental feedback, the child's session is primarily devoted to the child.
Aspen Counseling Center provides therapy services for children ages four and older. Dr. Sutten is a child psychologist with advanced training in child psychotherapy, child development and the assessment and treatment of childhood trauma. The first appointment will typically involve meeting with both parents when possible so that we can discuss your primary concerns, begin to obtain relevant historical information and discuss treatment goals.
Parent Counselor Meeting
Frequently, I recommend that the first meeting be with just the parents so that you have the opportunity to talk freely about your concerns without the child being present. (Even though your child may know things aren’t going well, he or she probably does not want to hear you talking about their negative behavior.) The following session will be spent primarily with your child so that he or she can become familiar with me and the therapy setting. Future sessions, which are typically scheduled on a weekly basis, will involve a combination of individual time with your child, you or conjoint time with you and your child depending on situations which may have occurred during the prior week and our overall treatment goals.