What is child psychotherapy?

While many therapists and counsellors may see children and adolescents, only child psychotherapists are specifically trained to treat children. Their training is long (a minimum of six years) and specific as building a therapeutic relationship with children is  not the same as with adults. There is a power imbalance that must be understood and carefully worked within.

Children communicate distress in a different way to adults. Any therapist working with children needs to understand non-verbal communication and be able to make sense of the child's inner world. Sometimes play or artwork is used to do this. The aim is to find insights into the child's way of functioning, and for the child themselves to understand their own feelings and behaviour.

Without treatment, distressed children and young people may respond to people and situations in ways they cannot control. They may also be at greater risk of developing more serious mental illnesses in adulthood.

Who benefits from child psychotherapy?

Children and their parents can benefit from seeing a child psychotherapist. Children and adolescents seek treatment for a variety of problems including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, family breakdown or problems at school.

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Last updated on September 17 2015