a boutique counseling experience

Child Therapy

Child Counseling Services in Milwaukee

Are you struggling with knowing what is going on with your child? Have you recently noticed new behaviors that are different from the typical behaviors of your child? You are not alone! Parenting is a hard job, and so much information is not accurate or helpful. Asking friends and family members can be helpful, but sometimes that advice is based only on their experience with their unique child/children. Our skilled and experienced Child Therapist has worked with hundreds of children. This experience is vital in helping your child find tools to cope and succeed in this increasingly stressful world. Sometimes, a child has difficulty communicating their feelings or what they need, making it challenging for them in school and at home. It can be overwhelming to know what to do. Child therapy can help, and it can be fun for your child!

Therapy with children looks different from therapy with adults. When we think of therapy, most of us envision sitting on a couch talking about feelings while a therapist listens and provides feedback. While adolescents may engage in this traditional style, children are typically not yet able to reflect on their feelings or experiences in this way. Instead, young children express themselves most comfortably and freely through play.

How does child therapy work?

Therapy with kids is more interactive and activity/play-based. Using a variety of therapeutic games, toys, and art, we facilitate communication in a natural way for children. During this playtime, significant work is being done. Children work through feelings and problems during play, and child therapists know how to make this process a meaningful, productive, and fun experience they'll want to come back to do.

Skill Building and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children

Because children are growing and learning, therapy is often rich with skill-building. Skills taught and practiced during sessions often include:

  • feelings expression
  • cognitive restructuring 
  • problem-solving 
  • impulse control
  • social thinking skills
  • calming
  • coping skills
boy with closed eyes in maple leaf pile

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the therapeutic approach most often used with children and teens. It is effective in helping them realize the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behavior and empowers them to make positive choices in each of these areas. 

Parent Involvement in Child's Therapy

Parent/Caregiver involvement is an essential component of therapy with young children. They typically join sessions for the first few minutes to share recent observations or concerns to be addressed and celebrate the progress made since the last session. Then, parents are invited to join the session again at the end to summarize our therapeutic activities, insights, skills learned during the session and discuss ways to support our collaboratively developed therapeutic goals at home and school. 

Should My Child Start Therapy?

Children participate in therapy for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the following:

  • life transitions (moving, divorce/remarriage
  • starting new school
  • difficulty adjusting to life changes)
  • anxiety/worries (separation, social, generalized, panic, OCD-type thoughts/behaviors)
  • depression (low self-esteem, negative self-statements, irritability, emotional outbursts, lack of interest in activities)
  • ADHD (impulsiveness, hyperactivity, attention problems)
  • behavior issues (oppositional defiance, anger outbursts, temper tantrums, aggression)
  • social issues (difficulty developing or maintaining friendships, conflicts with peers)
young girl in white dress on black leather chair

What to do when a child refuses therapy?

There are many views on this question. If a child refuses therapy, there can be many reasons why. It is crucial to get a clear idea of the reason. If they are fearful of coming in because they don't understand it, book a consult so they can see the space. If they are uncertain of meeting a new adult, have them watch a video of Molly Selby or the other therapists at Shoreside Therapies. If they had had therapy before and did not connect with the therapist, try to allow for a choice. For your child to feel comfortable, they may need to meet a few therapists. Let your therapist know that you will be meeting with a few other options. This is entirely acceptable, and most therapists understand the importance of these meetings. The therapist/client relationship is the most critical part of therapy. If they still do not want to attend, try setting up an appointment with a parenting therapist for yourself to create a parenting plan and ideas to help your child.  Another great option are the group classes that Molly Selby offers during the summer.  Groups are a great way to help your child continue learning skills and socializing in a small group setting (3-5 kids maximum).

Whether these issues are recent/emerging or chronic/worsening, therapy can help!  Set up a free 15 minute consult today!

Contact Molly

Molly Selby, MSW, LCSW

Ready to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation?

Molly Selby, MSW, LCSW

More Questions? Call, text or email

(217) 962-1464

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