Children often have a difficult time communicating their feelings with words. You may find your child acting differently and this may be a sign your child is trying to communicate something to you. Examples of some of the signs you may see when your child is dealing with difficult feelings are: a drop in grades, acting out behavior, problems at school, becoming sullen and quiet, crying more than usual, clinginess, complaints of physical symptoms that are not due to illness (stomachaches and headaches are common), and a change in relationship with peers.
Children and adolescents I see are often dealing with:
- Anxiety, worry, stress
- Loss and grief
- Self esteem
- Behavior issues
- Family conflict
- Social skills- making and keeping friends
- School difficulties
- Bullying- bully, bystander, or victim
- Learning differences
The Use of Play in Therapy
When working with children, I use play in a various ways. I use play to understand a child’s inner world and what may be causing conflict. Your child may use art, storytelling, imaginative play, and movement to express him or herself in therapy sessions. Play can also be used to help a child develop different ways of coping with stress.
-Most often, the child directs the play. I look for themes, symbolism, and patterns in play to help understand underlying conflict.
-At other times, I direct the child by choosing activities that are designed to help children access feelings, learn new skills, or to alleviate symptoms.
-With older children or adolescents, I may use play as an instrument to help the child feel comfortable while talking about difficult experiences or feelings.
Work with children and adolescents involve not only a stable relationship with the therapist but collaboration with parents and the child’s school as needed. I typically meet with parents once a month to discuss your child’s progress, behavior at home and school, and to provide parental support.