© 2017  Lucy Mills, BA (Hons), MA, Member of the Association of Child Psychotherapists

How Does Child Psychotherapy Work?

Child and adolescent psychotherapy is a psychoanalytic treatment for children, young people and their families.

Children, teenagers and their families are often puzzled by why they feel and behave the way they do.  Asking why often doesn't seem really to help, and usually there are no straightforward answers to explain why things have become so worrying or upsetting.  It is not unusual for children and young people to find it very hard to find ways to talk about their worries and feelings.

 

Psychotherapists are trained to carefully observe a child or young person and to respond to what they might be communicating through their behaviour and play, as well as what they say.  Toys and drawing materials are provided to help children and adolescents to express themselves as sometimes it can be really difficult to put thoughts and feelings into words.

Therapy helps the child or young person to recognise and describe their feelings in words, and to explore patterns of thinking and behaviour that have become problematic.

 

The relationship with the therapist is central to this treatment.  Regular, punctual attendance at sessions is essential to establish a reliable setting in which it feels possible to begin to explore troubling thoughts and feelings. 

This approach is also used to offer supportive and therapeutic work for parents and carers to enable a deeper understanding of how the world looks from their child's point of view, and to explore relationships within the family.