"A person's a person, no matter how small"
- Dr. Seuss, Author / Philosopher
Child psychotherapy is the creation of a therapeutic relationship which is almost solely focused on the emotional and social well-being of the child. It differs from adult therapy in several important ways:
FOCUS OF TREATMENT
Child therapy is very forward-oriented. Children are always in the process of becoming who they will be, so looking back on past life events as done in adult therapy, or trying to problem solve by finding and re-experiencing the source of trouble may be irrelevant to a child. Child therapists are experts at helping children develop a strong sense of self, emotional strength, good relationships and good communication.
The language of child therapy is largely non-verbal. Child therapists use activity, unstructured play, games, art and relationship to communicate with children. Children can't always translate actions into words, or feelings into words, so it's important that child therapists be bilingual in a sense, speaking both 'adult' and 'child'.
This is a busy world, and sometimes children lose track of themselves and need the experience of true awareness of self in an environment that is free of criticism (perceived or real) and expectation. Once this trusting relationship is built with a therapist, the exploration of the true self can begin. This exploration happens because of the therapist's ability to create a therapeutic space in which growth and introspection are welcomed and demonstrated. The child psychotherapist acts as a guide through the confusing territory of emotion and development.
Aside from the relief of symptoms, child therapy works on the following five goals:
● Build Self Esteem
● Help Improve Communication
● Stimulate Development
● Build an Emotional Repertoire
● Improve the Emotional Vocabulary