Sometimes kids have a lot of worries that get in the way of enjoying important activities like school, playing with friends, sports and leisure activities, or family outings. Kids can worry about all sorts of things like separating from their parents, meeting new people, sleeping alone, certain animals or places, doing well at school, making friends, and mean kids. Wow, it's tough being a kid sometimes! It's also hard for parents who wonder, Why is my child having such a hard time? Is it something we did or didn't do? Will it ever go away? Am I overreacting?
There are a lot of possible reasons kids can have difficulty with worry. Sometimes they've had a bad experience that makes them believe that similar experiences are going to be bad. Sometimes, they are perfection seekers and making mistakes feels like a huge deal! Sometimes there are stressful things happening in their lives and they just don't know what to do about them. And..., worry can run in families. Kids can inherit brains that are a bit more prone to worry. And they can learn how to worry by watching their parents or other family members who are super worriers!
In counselling, I help kids learn skills such as: emotional regulation, stress reduction, problem solving, social skills, and other positive coping habits. Helping kids develop these skills in childhood provides a strong foundation for navigating challenges throughout life!
This skills-based approach to children's counselling is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is individualized to each child's developmental level, strengths and interests, and family circumstances. CBT also provides parents with practical strategies for responding to their child's worries.
CBT works well for kids who are open to learning new ways to manage their anxiety and for parents who are able to help their child practice new learning outside of the session. CBT is very effective with mild to moderate anxiety. For more debilitating anxiety, CBT is often used along with parent coaching and medical interventions as prescribed by a health care provider.
CBT for anxiety is not appropriate for children who are anxious due extreme stress such as high conflict parental separation, domestic violence, parental alcohol and drug abuse, or child abuse. For more information about the best ways to support children who are experiencing these stressors, consider consulting a child therapist who specializes in child traumatic stress or high conflict parental separation.
Children's sessions range from 30-60 minutes - depending on the age of the child, stage of counselling, and the child's preferences. It's important that parents are involved in weekly sessions which can include a pre-session email check-in to talk about how things are going and a check-out after sessions to review what was taught. For younger children, 7 years and under, parents are often the primary participants in the session with children attending for short periods to learn new skills.
To learn more about fees and the initial steps in children's counselling click here.
To schedule an initial phone consultation click here. NOTE: Give yourself 10-20 minutes to share a bit about your situation and to ask questions.