Kids can struggle with mental health issues like depression or trauma-based conditions sooner than you’d think. In fact, nearly 25% of kids will experience a mental health condition at some point during childhood or adolescence. And just like adults, they can benefit from talk therapy as a sole treatment or in conjunction with other treatments like medication.
What Is Talk Therapy?
There are 4 main types of psychotherapy:
- Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Humanistic Therapy
- Psychodynamic Therapy
Talk therapy usually consists of weekly or bimonthly sessions lasting around 45 minutes to 1 hour. For kids, talk therapy often means working with the whole family and commonly incorporates activities such as drawing and playing while talking.
Kids can learn coping skills like mindfulness and breathing techniques, talking through their problems, expressing their feelings, and learning how to problem-solve.
Who Needs Talk Therapy?
A wide variety of mental health conditions can be helped by talk therapy:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- PTSD & Trauma-Based Conditions
If your child is experiencing symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, self-harm, avoidance behaviors, nightmares, trouble sleeping, trouble thinking or making decisions, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or persistent fearfulness, they may benefit from sessions with a therapist.
What are the Benefits of Talk Therapy?
There are many benefits to participating in talk therapy at any age, but this is particularly true for kids who are struggling with mental health disorders.
- Sessions with a therapist help kids experience relief from psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
- Talk therapy allows kids to have a safe place to share their thoughts and feelings while receiving treatment from a professional who is best equipped to guide them.
- Therapists who specialize in treating children are able to assist families in receiving the proper diagnosis and treatment while educating parents on the best ways to support their children and help them manage their mental health condition.
- Even just a few sessions of talk therapy can lower the incidence of self-harm and suicide in at-risk kids and teens.
- Talk therapy, especially CBT, can improve many sleep issues such as insomnia and result in a better night’s sleep for your child.
- A combination of treatment with medication and therapy is linked to increased recovery rates in depression when compared to treatment with medication alone.
- Utilizing the services of a mental health professional early on in the course of a mental illness can lead to improved patient outcomes in the long run and may actually help reverse some conditions such as anxiety. Early intervention is key.
- With the help of a therapist, kids can learn various social and emotional skills that will serve them throughout their entire lives, even if their mental health condition improves.
- Therapy sessions give kids a solid foundation of self-awareness, confidence, problem-solving skills, and healthy patterns of thinking.
If you have any questions about talk therapy or your child’s mental health, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate board-certified pediatricians.