Children & Adolescents

Concerns about how an infant, child or adolescent is developing, relating, thinking, feeling or behaving are excellent reasons to seek a mental health consultation. Counselling or psychotherapy is appropriate when a parent or primary caretaker is worried, confused or burdened by a child’s behaviour or by the experience of parenting.

Some of the most common concerns that bring children or adolescents to therapy include:

  • Concerns about mood, sensitivity, reactivity
  • Separation distress
  • Difficulties in child-care setting or school
  • Parent-child relationship issues
  • Worry, anxiety, fearfulness
  • Difficulties with routines of sleeping or eating
  • Depression or other mood issues
  • Behavioural concerns (tantrums, aggression, defiance, delinquent behaviour)
  • Academic or learning concerns
  • Peer or friendship difficulties
  • Sibling or family conflict
  • Life events causing stress, trauma or loss (adoption, divorce, bereavement, physical or sexual abuse)
  • Somatic complaints (headaches or stomachaches not caused by illness)
  • Attachment difficulties
  • Concerns about sexuality or sexual orientation
  • Conflicts with parents
Through a combination of talk and play, the child has an opportunity to express, understand and manage their conflicts and feelings, which lead to changes in their behavior. Goals for therapy may be specific such as changes in behavior, improved relations with friends or family; or more general such as less anxiety or better self esteem.

Parent involvement is expected in child counselling and psychotherapy. Sessions will be a combination of individual sessions with the child, individual sessions with the parent(s) and possibly combined sessions. This is in order to support the positive changes taking place in the individual treatment, and to help the parents understand their child’s behavior, resolve problems, and modify family dynamics. Parent consultation can sometimes provide valuable support on its own.