For many children the developmental path to maturity can be a bumpy one. The ups and downs of childhood can feel like a rollercoaster for children, and the parents supporting them. Overall this process is managed, and the various tasks of development are negotiated, but for many children, some things can feel more difficult.
Parents may feel as if their child’s development has become “stuck” or they may be exhibiting troubling behaviour that a parent had thought they had grown out of. They may seem distressed or withdrawn, and this can cause concern and worry within a family.
Child psychotherapy is helpful for a number of difficulties and conditions, including:
It can be very difficult for children to put into words the worries and concerns that often lie at the heart of developmental or emotional difficulties. These children may exhibit behaviour that feels worrying to their parents and even to themselves, – leading to feelings of confusion, frustration, guilt and anxiety within a family. In other cases, parents may feel terribly worried about a child who has become withdrawn or does not seem themselves.
“Thank you so much for your hard work and commitment to our daughter this year. I think it’s been incredibly valuable to have had your knowledge, experience and support, and it has helped us all look ahead to the future more positively. I am very, very grateful for your support and reassurance, and I am sure that one day our daughter will look back and say the same”
– father of 7 year old
At the Anchor Practice we understand that a child’s behaviour can be best understood as a communication to the adults around them about the nature of their inner, emotional life, which can often be very different to the real-life situation in which they find themselves. We do not seek to influence a child’s behaviour without first understanding the specific underlying emotional difficulty that this behaviour is communicating.
When we feel that psychotherapy would be helpful for a child, the goal of the treatment is for the child to be able to understand their emotions more clearly, and to develop more fully. Child psychotherapy involves offering a safe, reliable and thoughtful space in which a child can play freely and be helped to understand and make sense of the significance of their thoughts and feelings. The un-structured play situation enables us to help a child understand what internal problems lie at the root of their behaviour, and a child can then become more able to put these feelings into words rather than act them out.
We also offer parallel sessions to parents, in which we work together to achieve a better understanding of the child’s difficulty, for example, why they might behave in a certain way, or show a specific set of symptoms. We feel that thorough understanding is paramount in relieving distress and promoting development.
If you are considering psychotherapy for an child, you may wish to get in touch to discuss the current situation before arranging an initial appointment.