Compassionate Child Therapy

Children under 12 years old process and react to the world around them differently than their adult counterparts. As a result, they experience mental health issues differently, too. Children often struggle to articulate their thoughts, memories, feelings, and emotions through words alone. They require the attention of a child counsellor trained in working with young children in a variety of capacities. Child Therapy is specially designed to work for young children who show signs of cognitive, developmental, behavioural, and emotional distress.

Along with assessing and diagnosing children, they also employ a wide range of psychological methods such as play therapy, which uses play time, imagination, puzzles, puppets and games in order to help children process and express their experiences in a safe and nurturing environment.

Mental Health Concerns Addressed in Child Therapy

  • Anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, performance anxiety, and panic disorders)
  • Depression and Grief
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Conduct disorder
  • Behavioural issues
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • School issues (bullying or learning disabilities)

Signs of Distress in Children

Studies have shown that mental health issues may present differently with boys than with girls. Boys are more likely to exhibit more externalized symptoms – such as emotional outbursts, impulsiveness, aggression, and self-harm. On the other hand, because girls tend to be more socially aware, they are more likely to hide or internalize their distress. This means that their symptoms present more subtly, which could include social withdrawal, worsening academic performance, and eating disorders. Regardless of gender, listed below are some of the signs and behaviours parents should be on the lookout for:

Prolonged Sadness

If your child has been unusually sad for more than 2 weeks, they may be trying to navigate a difficult situation.

Difficulty Focusing

Trouble with focusing, at school or elsewhere, might mean something else is occupying your child’s mind.

Dropping Grades

If your child has been neglecting their academic and extracurricular activities, there may be something wrong.

Changes in Diet

A change in diet, whether that means binge eating, purging, or under-eating could be indicative of something deeper.

Sleep Problems

Children may experience trouble falling asleep, such as insomnia, because of psychological distress.

Physical Signs

Stomachaches, headaches, nausea, and rashes are some examples of mental health issues manifesting physically.

Unusual Anger

If your child is experiencing unusual anger outbursts and tantrums, they may be struggling with a deeper issue.

Loss of Interests

A loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, such as hobbies or sports, may be a sign of mental health issues.

Psychological Assessments for Children

Child psychologists utilize a wide range of therapeutic techniques to help your child process their emotions. Due to their age, children experience the world differently than adults. This means psychologists require specialized training in order to properly assess and treat them. Along with counselling, child therapists can also complete certified psychological assessments and diagnoses for the following:

Psycho-educational Assessments

Evaluate a child’s academic, behavioural, psychosocial, and cognitive functioning to better understand their strengths.

Intelligence (IQ) Assessments

Assess a child’s intelligence and cognitive abilities in areas such as problem solving, art, memory, comprehension, and logic.

Mental Health Assessments

Mental health assessments evaluate the emotional and cognitive state of a person to provide more effective treatment.

ADHD Assessment

An ADHD assessment evaluates your child's activity level, ability to focus, executive functioning, and emotional regulation skills.

OCD Assessment

Determine whether your child's behaviours are simply quirks or suggestive of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Autism Assessment

Getting an assessment and offering early intervention can make a big difference in the lives of autistic children. 

Counselling Approaches for Children

Child counsellors use many different kinds of treatments and are trained to determine which one is most appropriate. Different mental illnesses and patient circumstances all warrant different treatments. While some involve extensive conversations, others require no verbal communication from the child at all. Below is a list of some of the treatments our counsellors may recommend and/or use:

CBT

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective psychological treatment focused on identifying and developing strategies to challenge irrational thoughts, beliefs or attitudes, called cognitive distortions.

ACT

By combining mindfulness, an acceptance of current feelings, and a commitment to challenging unhelpful thoughts, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has been proven to be an effective counselling approach.

Play Therapy

Play therapy allows a therapist to observe a child at play in a variety of settings which offers them invaluable insight into the child's emotional state without the need for them to actively think about and  articulate their thoughts.

EMDR

Using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a counsellor can help the child access, understand, and process difficult memories by activating both sides of the brain with bilateral stimulation. 

Get Matched To The Right Therapist

Not sure who can help you? You can either fill out the form to be matched to a therapist that specializes in your unique situation or give us a call at (403) 588-7639.

Get Started

AIRDRIE, AB

Unit #17 - 620 - 1 Ave NW
Airdrie, AB T4B 2R3

SOUTH CALGARY

290 Midpark Way SE #330,
Calgary, AB T2X 1P1

NORTH CALGARY

2000 Pegasus Rd NE
Calgary, AB T2E 8K7

EDMONTON, AB

9426 51 Avenue NW, Suite 201,
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5A6

RED DEER, AB

4915 54 Street - 3rd Floor
Red Deer, AB T4N 2G7
envelopephone-handsetmap-marker linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram