Child Counseling Techniques (7 most effective)

In today’s blog, we would be looking at the various techniques used in Child Counseling. Many parents are in denial of the fact that their child may need counseling because of the taboo that therapy has in society. Before we explore this further, let us first discuss what Child Counseling really means.

A list of child counselling techniques

Below are a few child counselling techniques:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
  • Family Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Supportive Therapy

What is Child Counseling?

Child Counseling is a platform for young children and adolescents to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a safe, trustworthy and comforting environment. It also provides support to children or teens who have experienced traumatic events or are diagnosed with mental illnesses. 

Children going through emotional distraught often tend to act out in various ways such as temper tantrums, bed wetting, isolation, hostile behaviour, and so on. 

Child Counselors also help and guide parents through various parenting techniques which may help them cope and understand their child’s behaviour.

Some signs that your child may be asking for professional help: 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Psychosomatic symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden Outbursts
  • Low Self-esteem and Confidence
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Bed wetting past the normal age
  • Perpetual fear
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviour
  • Hearing voices in their head
  • Depression
  • Alcohol or Drug use
  • Bullying
  • Violent behaviours

Techniques Used for Child and Adolescent Counseling:

Here is a list of the various techniques used for Child and Adolescent Counseling and how they are used for interventions:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
  • Family Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Supportive Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):

Through this intervention, the therapist aids the child to accept and acknowledge their inner feelings and emotions. Various Mindfulness methods are used in this technique which allow the child to become fully aware of their actions. 

Through this understanding, the child is then able to commit to move forward with a more positive attitude. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

CBT helps recognise and replace distorted patterns of thinking in a child with more positive thoughts. It focuses on how thought and emotions affect behaviour. During this intervention, the child learns to identify harmful or unproductive behaviours and thought patterns. 

The therapist assists the child in replacing these patterns with more productive ones. CBT is highly effective for children with depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies. 

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT):

DBT is a type of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that can help treat adolescents with Borderline Personality Disorder, mood disorders, substance abuse, and suicidal ideations. 

DBT focuses on an individual taking accountability of their own actions and behaviour. It aids them to analyze how they cope with disputes and deal with their distorted thoughts. 

Family Therapy:

Family Therapy includes interventions of the child with their parents, siblings and grandparents. Family Therapy involves dialogue and diagnostic sessions with the family. 

By including other family members, the therapist can observe and  identify communication and behaviour patterns among the members of the family and help provide a more productive method of communication for the child’s well-being. 

Play Therapy:

Play Therapy is highly effective with young children. It involves the use of toys, puppets, dolls, building blocks, colours and various types of games to help the child express, articulate and visualize their thoughts and feelings. 

Play therapy allows the therapist to observe a child’s thought patterns. Through this intervention, a child may express their innermost emotions and thoughts without hesitations. Counselors also adapt role-playing strategies to make the child more comfortable with verbalisation.

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF – CBT):

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps a child to heal from the effects of a trauma. This may include cases where a child has gone through Physical, Sexual or Emotional Abuse, Self-harm, sudden death or loss of a loved one, Accidents, and other traumatic events. 

Children who experience traumatic events often blame themselves and have feelings of guilt.The therapist aids the child to view their trauma in a more practical way without making them feel like they are to be blamed. 

Supportive Therapy: 

Supportive Therapy’s main focus is to minimize or to ease the depth of the symptoms, stress or impairment. Supportive Therapy helps children and adolescents feel supported to cope with anxiety, stress and helps them analyze productive and unproductive behaviours. This intervention also helps them increase their self-worth and confidence. 

In What Ways Can Counseling Benefit a Child?

Self Esteem: 

Child Counseling helps a child or adolescent feel more secure with themselves. With time, counseling helps increase their self worth and makes them feel more comfortable in their own skin. 

Confidence:

Through Counseling, children may identify their negative thoughts and behaviours and try to replace them with more positive ones. This kind of self-control in turn leads to better self-confidence. With a more positive outlook towards life, children feel more confident to tackle any future issues they may have. 

Stress and Anxiety: 

With the help of Child Counseling, children learn various ways to cope with stressful situations. When they are presented with a high pressure situation, or a situation that may cause them anxiety, they are able to endure them in a healthier manner. 

Change: 

Many children have difficulty dealing with change. Through counseling, they become more resilient towards various changes in their lives. They become well-rounded, well-adjusted individuals through therapy. 

Trauma: 

Some children experience unpleasant situations, the type they should not be exposed to. These kinds of traumatic events can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as the child grows older. 

PTSD can be prevented if the child has an outlet to share their overwhelming feelings, emotions and memories. The counselor can help the child process these feelings and prevent them from blaming themselves.

These are just a few examples on how beneficial Child Counseling can be and how it can help children/adolescents to grow up to be well-rounded, confident individuals. Counseling at a young age can help prevent difficulties in adulthood. 

Some traumatised children can grow up to have dysfunctional relationships, trust issues, homicidal tendencies and several other psychological problems as adults.

Conclusion

In this blog, we discussed 6 different Child Counseling techniques. We also explored what Child Counseling is and how it can be beneficial for a child or adolescent.

Frequently Asked Questions: Child Counseling Techniques

What type of therapy is best for my child?

The most 5 most effective therapy techniques for Child Counseling are:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
  • Family Therapy 
  • Play Therapy 
  • Supportive Therapy

What are the 5 types of Counseling?

The 5 types of counseling are as follows:

  • Career and Guidance Counseling 
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling 
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Grief Counseling

How do I know if my child needs counseling?

Some signs that indicate that your child may need counseling:

  • Change in Appetite
  • Change in sleep cycles
  • Irritability
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Constant fear
  • Isolation
  • Bad or destructive behaviour
  • Psychosomatic symptoms

How do you counsel a child?

To counsel a child, you need to observe their patterns of behaviour, provide emotional support to them as well as actively listen to what they are trying to tell you. Children and adolescents need to know that they are being heard. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is to gain their trust. Once they feel that they can trust you, they start confiding in you which helps you to determine the root cause of their problem. 

Citations

  1. https://positivepsychology.com/child-therapy/
  1. https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Psychotherapies-For-Children-And-Adolescents-086.aspx
  1. https://www.therapytribe.com/therapy/child-counseling/

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