Sending your child to counseling can be scary. You’re entrusting not only care for your child, but your care for your child’s thoughts and feelings, to someone else. Even if that individual happens to be a licensed healthcare professional, it’s normal to feel concerned.
Ultimately, adolescent counseling can yield massively positive dividends in the life of your child. Life presents us with challenges and scenarios that even the best parents cannot handle. Most parents are not licensed counselors, and if a situation is weighing especially heavily on your child, it’s likely affecting his or her parents as well.
When challenging situations begin affecting your child in negative ways, one of the best solutions could be finding a counselor – a removed, empathetic, unbiased third party – who can professionally help train your child to navigate whatever life brings.
Why child counseling?
Parents are equipped to handle a lot. They manage parent-teacher conferences, three year-old tantrums and teenage angst. They assist with complicated homework assignments, driving lessons and sibling difficulties. Parenting is a lot to ask of human beings, and it’s even more to ask when trauma or stress enters the mix.
For certain times when parents can’t help their child in the ways the child needs, counseling provides an avenue for help. Child counselors know how to interact with adolescents and teens and read the symptoms they display. They are equipped to help them navigate through the loss of a family member, friend or even a beloved pet; a big change, such as moving schools or states; divorce; a traumatic event; mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression; abuse; bullying; and substance abuse or addiction in the family.
How can I find a counselor for my child?
For a child, knowing they’re going to be speaking to a counselor can be humiliating or intimidating, possibly making them feel like there’s something wrong with them. As adults, it’s important to emphasize the normalcy of visiting a counselor. Talking to a counselor is simpler to reconcile in our minds – there are some things that need to be brought into the light, things which we can’t hope to fix single-handedly, and so we know that speaking to a counselor is the best method by which to get better.
Children don’t have the ability to process counseling in this way. They will be more inclined to believe they are the issue, making it imperative to find a counselor with whom your child is comfortable. If your child feels at ease with his or her counselor, the sessions will be infinitely more successful and your son or daughter will be well on their way to recovery.
There are many routes you can take to find a good counselor. Reach out to your pediatrician for some references. Perhaps your company has an EAP (employee assistance program) you could contact in order to find someone. Maybe even talk with some close friends and see if they have recommendations for you.
And of course, we offer professional mental health treatment and counseling for both children and teens at The Light Program. If your son or daughter is struggling with issues they need help addressing, our licensed counseling team is always here to help.
Finding a counselor can take some time and effort, but this diligence shouldn’t be overlooked. Take the time to interview potential counselors to learn their methods, so you can better understand what your child will experience in counseling. Perhaps your child does better with face-to-face interactions. You can discuss with a potential counselor some of the questions and discussion topics typically talked about in a session. If activity-based therapy, such as equine, art or music therapy are a better fit for your child, you can ask the therapist the specifics of the options available on a per-session basis.
The bottom line is this – make sure your child is comfortable. The more comfortable your child is with their counselor, the faster they’ll be able to journey towards recovery.
Choosing the best counseling option on behalf of your child
Counseling can look different for each person. Even if two siblings experienced the same trauma, their individual counseling sessions could look completely different from one another, because of the ways they function as individuals. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all counseling and recovery timeline. Obviously, counseling a child through the divorce of their parents will not be the same as counseling because of bullying. To get a complete picture of what your child will experience, it’s important to build a relationship with their counselor and talk with them about what they are seeing and hearing from the child.
And talk with your son or daughter. Children can only handle so much, so it is vital to walk with them through the process of recovery. Showing them your support and encouraging their growth and recovery is one of the best ways to promote healing.
At The Light Program, we know the importance of making counseling available to all, at all times. But sometimes it can be intimidating to take the leap and reach out for help, especially if it’s for your child. Nevertheless, when things go beyond your control or know-how, the sooner help is sought out, the better. This is what child counselors are here to do – to help you get your child back to mental health quickly, smoothly and gently. Call 610-644-6464 today, or reach out today to put the power of healing to work for your adolescent.