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Children and Mental Health (Ages 1-9)

Children and Mental Health (Ages 1-9)

young girl looking out of windowAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental health is an important part of overall health for everyone, including children. Many adults who have mental disorders could have shown symptoms during childhood and adolescence that may have gone unrecognized or misdiagnosed.

A licensed therapist or counselor can help children and families understand what is going on to effectively address issues that arise and provide the necessary support. Early treatment can help prevent more serious issues from arising in the future. In fact, when some adults reflect back on their childhood during therapy sessions, they tend to remember symptoms of their then-undiagnosed disorders and how it affected them when they were younger.


Common Reasons and Signs to Take your Child to Counseling

Concerned parents may hear from others that warning signs are “just a stage” or that “the child will grow out of it,” but that is not always the case. There are many reasons parents choose to take their children to therapy. Some of these reasons look similar to those seen in adolescents and adults. Here are some of the more common reasons and signs that lead parents to begin child counseling:

  • Constantly bring up things they fear and worries they have
  • Change in sleep routine- sleeping too much or too little
  • Experiencing nightmares regularly
  • Struggling at school or academically declining
  • Change in appetite- eating too much or too little
  • Acting violently towards things, other individuals or animals
  • Obsessively repeating tasks in fear that something bad will happen if they are not completed
  • Thoughts or attempts of hurting themselves or suicide
  • Being extremely irritable and easy to anger
  • Complains of physical pain, although having a healthy medical report
  • Withdrawing from social activity or friends they used to enjoy spending time with


Types of Childhood Therapy

There are various types of therapy that a therapist may choose to move forward with, depending on the child. These offer individualized options to help treat and prevent issues that a child may be showing signs of.

Play therapyclose up of young girl writing on paper

In play therapy, a therapist interacts with the child by interpreting play behavior and communication. The therapist watches the child to better understand their emotional and mental health. Therapists use different types of child’s play to help the child figure out, express and manage their feelings.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

According to Everyday Health, this is a form of counseling where children are taught how their own thoughts can affect their mood and behavior. Children are shown how to identify these negative thoughts and patterns and replace them with positive ones.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy may differ based on the child’s age. In this type of therapy, therapists listen to the child talk through their issues, with the theory in mind that once the struggles have been spoken out loud, the child’s behavior will improve. 

Behavior therapy

This type of therapy is similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy, but differs in that it focuses on modifying behaviors. This type of therapy helps children and their parents identify behaviors that need to be discouraged and encouraged to help create a change. According to Everyday Health, parents may be utilized to help alter the environmental factors that may contribute to these behaviors.

Arranging Child Counseling

A thorough evaluation with a licensed professional can help parents determine whether treatment is necessary and which treatment type may be most effective. An evaluation and therapy treatments can be good avenues to learning more about a child’s strengths and weaknesses. 

It is easy to find and schedule an appointment with one of our therapists and counselors specialized in child counseling (ages 1-9)