What to Expect from Child Therapy

As a therapist who sees and has seen many children and teens in my practice, I often get the question, “How is child therapy different than individual therapy for adults?”

This is an excellent question, as children who come in for therapy have a variety of situations: life transitions from parents’ divorce or separation, anxiety, depression, learning issues, ADHD, adoption challenges, behavior problems, etc. One thing they all have in common-they are all between the ages of 3-18 years, and therapy does happen differently than with adults. Children do not verbalize their feelings and circumstances as readily as adults might, which is why child therapists use play and art therapy, narrative therapy, and sand play.

These are all types of work that I am trained in and have years of experience working with. Before Private practice I worked with children and teens in the Children Place Program at StarVista agency, and I have four children myself ages 12-21 years, the youngest of whom are adopted. When a child draws a family picture, chooses figurines to create a sand story, plays with my puppet collection, or tells me a story which I write down and read to him, he is expressing his feelings and life through the play, the puppets. A great example is my puppet “Mad Monkey,” who is a favorite in my practice. When I ask what Mad Monkey might be upset about, a child will tell me readily and when Mad Monkey speaks and acts out his anger, it is the child’s anger which is expressed. I find child therapy to be extremely rewarding, and when a child heals through expressing his feelings through play or art therapy, it is a beautiful experience for all involved.

All of the therapists I hire have integrative experience working with children, so they are able to create custom treatment plans and work with play therapy to help young children express feelings and build their emotional vocabulary, as well as work with them to learn CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy skills for any issues such as anxiety, ADHD, depression, emotional regulation, and life adjustments.

If you are interested in Child Therapy for your child or teen, please call me at 650-576-5146 or email me at [email protected] for a free 15 minute phone consult. Looking forward to working with your child or teen!

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