What is Child Counseling?
Child counseling is a type of therapy that focuses on young children, teens, and adolescents with one or more mental illnesses. It also provides aid to youths, who have experienced trauma, and/or who are experiencing a dysfunctional or stressful home environment.
Many of the issues these children face mimic the issues adults face in their day-to-day lives. Some of these common issues include anxiety, depression, and grief. The goal of child counseling, however, is to break down problems into manageable parts, so children can better understand and cope with them.
Who are Child Counselors?
Child counselors are mental health specialists, who offer invaluable insight into your child’s social and emotional development and mental health. It is important to understand that many times “glitches” in these areas may not be visible to the people closest to the child. That is where child counselors come in.
These individuals have the knowledge and expertise to recognize, identify, pinpoint, assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of mental health conditions, adjustment issues (divorce, new school, bullying, grief, etc.), and psychological distress.
More specifically, child counselors, also sometimes referred to as child therapists and child psychologists (depending on the level of education and licensure), have been trained to “get into the minds of children,” so they can help them make sense of what is going on in their minds, bodies, and lives.
What are the Functions of Child Counselors?
Child counselors perform many services to vulnerable youth. Most importantly, these mental health professionals have the know-with-all to help your child receive the help he/she needs to resolve his/her issues and resume a healthy and productive life. It is important to understand that children, who are suffering from mental health issues or psychological distress, may not share these concerns with their parents. That doesn’t happen because your child doesn’t love you; rather, it occurs because he/she fears disappointing you.
Therefore, the aim of child counselors is to help children better interpret the issues they are experiencing and/or the trauma that occurred – in a way they can process and understand. When a child’s social and emotional issues and psychological distress are left untreated, it can negatively impact his/her educational aspirations and developmental milestones.
More importantly, it can cause delays that persist well into adulthood. Keep in mind, however, that children of all ages, from toddlers and preschoolers to teens and adolescents, can benefit from counseling sessions.
Ultimately, this form of counseling aims to help children work through their emotions, so they can live normal healthy lives without the lasting effects of fear, confusion, anxiety, or trauma. The good news is you can play an important part in your child’s mental health simply being observant.
If you notice that your child’s behavior has suddenly and/or dramatically changed, or something feels “off” with your child, schedule a consultation with your child’s pediatrician or search for a child counselor for a more in-depth assessment. Sound judgment can ensure that your child receives the best treatment possible for his/her condition or issue.
When Should You Seek Child Counseling for Your Child?
When a child is suffering from mental, social or emotional, or psychological distress and/or trauma, it can be hard to cope with, especially when you feel like nothing is working or there’s nothing you can do to remedy the situation.  That is where a child counselor can be extremely beneficial.
This mental health professional can identify the underlying issues that are affecting your child’s overall health and well-being, so he/she can quickly receive the treatment he/she needs to feel better. The truth is many children are unable to fully process the complexities that accompany the emotional and/or psychological issues they are experiencing, so counseling may be just what your child needs to work towards mental wholeness.
In addition, child counseling can be invaluable to children who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or general anxiety disorder. It is common for parents, pediatricians, and teachers to seek counseling services for children if they feel they are in need of professional help. Why? Well, because child counselors can observe, assess, and identify the root cause of your child’s distress.
Remember, the main goal of child counseling is to use the knowledge and expertise of a trained child counselor to calm your concerns and help your child get the help he/she needs to function properly. A child counselor can provide both you and your child with the tools needed to deal with issues and any mental health condition in a healthy and productive way. More so, this specialist can help both you and your child navigate uncomfortable, scary, anxiety-provoking, and challenging times with less stress and turmoil.
As a parent, you want nothing but health and happiness for your child, but sometimes situations occur that you simply can’t “fix” on your own – especially when you are as emotionally-invested in the situation as you are as a parent. That is when it’s best to lean on someone with expertise in the area.
Therefore, you should seek counseling for your child, when you notice that your child is struggling or behaving uncharacteristically. A child counselor will teach him/her helpful techniques that place his/her mental health and well-being at center stage.