Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

Child psychotherapy helps children and young people to make sense of troubling feelings, thoughts and experiences, particularly those which are difficult to express in words. It provides a safe, reliable space in which children and adolescents can communicate sad, angry, painful or confusing feelings, so that these feelings do not have to be expressed through behaviour or physical symptoms. Although child psychotherapy can make a difference very quickly, the treatment is not just about getting rid of unwanted symptoms. It also builds emotional resilience, by helping the child or young person to manage and make sense of difficult feelings. This usually has a beneficial effect on family relationships, school engagement and behaviour, and can help the individual make better use of future opportunities and relationships.

Child psychotherapists work with a range of issues including low mood and/or low self-esteem (depression), anxiety, difficulties in relationships (including bullying), self-harm and behaviour problems. When there is confusion about what might be causing the child’s or adolescent’s difficulties, child psychotherapy can support children, parents or carers to disentangle and gain a better understanding of the problem.

Child psychotherapy begins with an assessment of around three or four sessions. This helps the child, parents and psychotherapist decide together on the length and frequency of the treatment, which can be anything from a few sessions to over one year. Sessions are offered regularly, at the same time and in the same place each week. The psychotherapist meets individually with the child or adolescent, and will usually arrange to see parents or carers every few months. Depending on the age of the young person, it can be helpful for parents to have some additional sessions with the child’s therapist or with a colleague, to support the changes that the young person is making through the therapy.

More information about child and adolescent psychotherapy can be found here.

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