How do I know if my child needs therapy?
As parents and therapists we need to observe the child's "level of functioning".
If your child is functioning "well enough or relatively well" - that means dealing well most of the time with daily challenges and transitions of life at school and at home plus he/she is having a good time at the playground (playing, having fun, making friends) this great and therapy is probably not needed. However if your child's level of distress interferes with the family's activities and prevents the child from engaging and enjoying certain aspects of childhood you might consider coming in for an assessment.
Consider therapy if your child is frequently:
- having relationship problems
- having behavioral issues at school or at home such as: over activity, poor regulation of impulses, noncompliance, defiance or physical aggression
- having a hard time expressing his/her needs
- having a hard time dealing with frustration
- having excessive outbursts of anger, fussiness, or temper tantrums
- having difficulty making friends
- having increased fears and worries
- having uncontrollable crying, screaming and eating disturbances
- having irritability, sadness or lack of interest in activities and in play
- having insomnia or sleeping a lot
- having nightmares or night walking
- presenting with feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- having difficulty separating from parents during day activities or at bedtime
- having difficulty adjusting to what is expected from him/her at the current stage of development
- being consistently "moody"
- displaying aggressive behaviors or inflicting any kind of self-harm
Some children experience loss
Loss includes death of a loved one, but also includes other losses such as is experienced when parents divorce, when a parent goes to jail, or when the family relocates to another community. Those are experiences that can deeply affect the family as a whole and the child's sense of safety, identity and their level of functioning.
Sometimes children experience traumatic situations
Examples of traumatic situations are: emotional, sexual or physical abuse, domestic violence, exposure to a natural disaster, accidents and medical procedures. Traumatic experiences are stored in our bodies and brain and are extremely difficult to understand and process. Children who need to heal any kind of trauma will benefit from therapy.