Each stage of life involves its difficulties. For children and adolescents, they are constantly in the process of developing the social skills and emotional intelligence necessary to lead healthy, happy lives. When children experience emotions or engage in behaviors that interfere with their happiness and ability to thrive, they may profit from meeting with a mental health professional such as a therapist or counselor. Parents and children often attend therapy sessions together, as therapy can be a safe space to address the thoughts, feelings, and emotions experienced by all members.
At LifeWorks, we offer a space for children to express themselves openly. Many children feel uncomfortable, afraid, or ashamed about communicating what they are experiencing to an adult they do not know. Our therapists will take the time to listen actively, take your child’s concerns seriously, and explain to them everything they say is private and only for their overall mental health benefit. Mental health conditions do not distinguish between adults, children, and adolescents, rather they affect everyone.
There are times when, as a parent or guardian, you should seek counseling for your child because waiting or observing are not a good idea. If you notice your child has an eating disorder, you should not wait. The longer the time between seeking help and the eating disorder begins, the harder the recovery time. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, an eating disorder affects about 10% of young women in the United States. Moreover, those who have eating disorders may also have co-morbid substance use disorders.
There are times when, as a parent or guardian, you should seek counseling for your child because waiting or observing are not a good idea. If you notice your child has an eating disorder, you should not wait. The longer the time between seeking help and the eating disorder begins, the harder the recovery time. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, eating disorder affects about 10% of young women in the United States. Moreover, those who have eating disorders may also have co-morbid substance use disorders.
The National Institute of Mental Illness (NAMI) has surveyed that about 4 million children and adolescents experience a mental health issue that interferes with their daily lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the prevalence rates for the following diagnosable mental health conditions among children ages 3 to 17:
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD): 6.8%
- Behavioral conditions: 3.5%
- Anxiety: 3%
- Depression: 2%
- Autism: 1.1%
- Tourette syndrome: 0.2%
Even if your child does not have a diagnosis, there may be pressing concerns in their life that make them feel different or socially isolated leading to undesirable outcomes. Some children express their emotions by cutting themselves, and this habit is something that can carry into adulthood. If you have discovered that your child has cut themselves intentionally, regardless of the amount of times, it’s important to get help.
Another reason many children may need therapy is because experimentation with alcohol and drugs is fairly common among adolescents and can lead to serious developmental, social, and behavioral issues. The CDC has estimated the following prevalence rates for problems associated with substance use among ages 12 to 17:
- Problematic illegal drug use: 4.7%
- Problematic alcohol use: 4.2%
- Physical dependence on cigarettes: 2.8%
Helping adolescents set goals and recognize their own values that may help them avoid using illicit substances. With therapy, your child can identify healthy coping strategies for dealing with stress without the use of substances. With the use of communicative and other creative therapies, we can work with your child and create a strategic therapeutic plan that works for them.
In working with children, counselors often use therapies that allow children to express themselves verbally and non-verbally, such as play therapy, sand tray therapy, and art therapy. In some cases, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), which relies very little on verbalization of experiences, can be appropriate for work with children. Here at Lifeworks, we serve the community of Carrollton, Dallas, Plano, Frisco, and the surrounding cities. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today.