Therapists use various therapy techniques to address issues specific to each child’s needs and those of their family. The therapy technique may depend on the nature of the problem, the child’s age, and other factors.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) helps parents interact with the child and manage their behaviors. It may also improve the parent-child bond. With PCIT, parents receive in-the-moment coaching from a therapist through an earpiece. A 2017 meta-analysis Trusted Source suggests that PCIT significantly reduces parent- and child-related stress regardless of session length, location, and issue.
When does a child need therapy?
Although occasional tantrums & outbursts are normal for many children, persistent or sudden changes in a child’s behavior may indicate a need to visit a mental health professional. A child may need therapy if they experience :
repeated displays of defiant behavior
In younger children, behaviors that indicate a need to visit a mental health professional may not be as easy to detect. However, they may include :
Explaining therapy to a child
A parent or caregiver should try to explain therapy to a child in an age-appropriate way. For example, they may be able to offer more information depending on the child’s age and ability to understand. Parents and caregivers may wish to describe therapists as “feelings doctors” to younger children. If they intend to be part of the process, they can also share that therapy can help them communicate, play, and understand each other better. With older children and teenagers, parents and caregivers can involve them in the decision making process. Decisions may include choosing the clinic, therapist, and schedule.