Houston Child Therapist
Every parent wants the best for their child. It can be hard to watch your child struggle and feel lost with how to help them. Connecting with a Houston child therapist can give your child the support they need–and deserve. While the idea of reaching out for help can be daunting, doing so can help your child thrive.
Is your child shutting down or acting out? Do you feel disconnected from your child? Child counseling can help!
School aged child can struggle with their mental and emotional wellbeing in a world that feeds them so much information. When a school aged child feels anxious, depressed or has low self-esteem they may shut down or act out. This is why it is important to prioritize your child's mental health. Seeing a child therapist can help!
When our children struggle with their mental health, we might also feel disconnected from them which affects the whole family. How do you know if your child has mental health issues?
1. You see a change in your child's mood and child's behavior.
2. Your child has behavioral problems at school and/or home.
3. You notice a significant drop in grades.
A child therapist is a dedicated to helping children learn new skills needed to manage their psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem so they can just be kids and achieve their goals!
Houston child therapist is a mental health professional like a licensed professional counselor that provides therapy services such as play therapy or talk therapy in a safe environment like a private practice setting or Telehealth online therapy.
Everything you need to know about child therapy in Houston
There are so many child therapists in the Houston area so it is important to choose the right one for your child. How do you choose the right one?
Choose a therapist with experience working with children the same age as your child and with similar concerns
Choose a therapist willing to work with parents to support child's progress
Choose a therapist with available appointment times that fit your family needs
Choose a therapist that provides a safe space for your child to feel heard
What can we expect from working with a child therapist in Houston?
You can expect your child's therapist to recommend weekly 50 minute sessions at the beginning to build the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and your child.
In a typical session, your child's therapist will engage in play therapy and/or talk therapy to help your child express emotions, process difficult emotions and learn new coping skills to help manage their psychological symptoms such as symptoms of anxiety and depression.
After 3 sessions, your child's therapist will meet with the parents/guardians to discuss goals, progress and present concerns. This home-therapy connection is important for your child's overall success. Your child's therapist will invite your feedback and also give you feedback on skills that can be implemented at home to help your child.
Therapy is a completely confidential process that requires trust, patience and honesty. Most parents typically start seeing improvements in their child's mental health after 3-6 sessions but this will depend on your child's level of participation in therapy.
Therapy is not a one-size fits all approach so your child's therapist will use techniques in different evidence-based clinical approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy to meet your child's needs.
What can a Houston child therapist help with?
Did you know that 20% of youth ages 13-17 live with a mental health condition?
This number will continue to increase if we do not prioritize our children's mental health. If we take our children to a pediatrician when they do not feel physically well, then we need to take our children to a therapist when they do not feel mentally well.
And the time is now because according to the National Institute of Mental Health, there is an average delay of 10 years between onset of psychological symptoms and intervention. This means our children lack the mental health support they need during important developmental stages.
In the first session, a psychological evaluation will be conducted with your child to assess psychological symptoms, causes of emotional problems, positive and negative coping skills, strengths and weaknesses and reasons for behaviors. This evaluation will help guide the therapeutic treatment plan to help your child cope with mental health conditions.
It is important for your child to be aware and acknowledge their own thoughts and feelings. This starts with being able to label helpful vs. unhelpful thinking styles and use feeling words to describe how they feel.
Our school systems are not designed to primarily focus on social emotional learning so our children lack the skills in identifying and expressing their thoughts and feelings in healthier ways.
Improve Communication Skills
When our children are self-aware, they then need help communicating their wants and needs in appropriate ways. Therapy can improve your communication skills by teaching assertive communication rather than passive communication or aggressive communication.
Behavior is communication so if your child has behavioral issues communication skills can help. Your parent-child relationship will also improve when both you and your child have effective communication skills.
Kids learn communication from their role models like their parent, teacher, and families so it is important to model these communication skills in everyday life and your child's therapist will help you do so.
Learn Coping Skills
We all have coping skills that we use daily to tolerate stressful situations and manage uncomfortable emotions. Our children at a young age also develop coping skills for the same reasons. Have you ever felt that you need a better coping skill?
There's a chance that you learned your a current coping skill when you were a child. Therapy can help your child learn adaptive coping skills that can serve them through life transitions.
What are the benefits of child counseling in Houston?
Early intervention can make a huge difference in your child's life. Without early intervention, your child may have developmental disabilities, behavioral issues, and school problems.
Ensure that your child hits appropriate developmental milestones.
There are 8 stages of psychosocial stages of development according to to well-known psychologist Erik Erikson. We go through the first 5 stages during our infancy, childhood and adolescence.
These 5 stages include learning: trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority and identity vs. role confusion. During these stages our children learn important social emotional skills. Therapy can help your child develop and practice these skills.
Decrease Behavioral Concerns
Often times, our children struggle with behavior when they feel misunderstood. Remember that behavior is communication. First, we need to foster care by creating a safe space for our children to express themselves.
Then, we need to provide emotional support by validating their feelings, not their behavior. Next, you work with a child therapist to have a better understanding of the function of the behavior and learn behavioral skills to help your child.
Child counseling will help you understand your child's troublesome behavior. Is it a developmental? Your child may be in a development transition. Is it the environment?
Your child may be reacting to a change in the environment. Is your child's emotional need met? Your child may need a little extra love and attention during this time. Is it an individual difference?
Your child's mood and temperament is different than your own. Is it an unfamiliar situation? Your child may not have the problem-solving skills or know what to expect in this situation.
Resolve School Problems
Many children experience some type of school problem in their lives including getting in trouble for behavior, getting bullied, not doing school work or homework, poor grades and not wanting to go to school. If you feel your child is having problems at school, child counseling can help you and your child resolves these problems.
As a parent, start a caring and supportive conversation with your child about school by asking positive or neutral questions such as "What subjects do you enjoy at school?".
"What do you like about this year", "What's the difference between this year and last year?", and "Who did you eat lunch with today?" These questions will encourage your child to talk about school problems in a safe space. If your child is not opening up, counseling can facilitate these conversations and find appropriate solutions.
My Approach to Child Therapy in Houston
I have worked with young age children, older children, and their families the last 7 years in schools and private practice. I adapt my therapy approach to fit each child's needs and interests so each session can look very different from playing games, to painting a canvas, to making crafts and and talking.
No matter what our therapy session may look like, the purpose remains the same, to help your child learn to express emotions in a healthy way and to problem-solve so they can reduce their anxiety symptoms, depression symptoms and improve their self-worth so they can live fulfilling lives.
Strategies I Use in Counseling
Counselors use many strategies create an individualized treatment plan that meets your child's needs. I use an eclectic approach in my counseling and therapy sessions.
I take strategies from clinical evidence-based approaches including cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is often used to improve mood and behavior that may be caused by anxiety and depression. CBT works to connecting thoughts, feelings and behavior to better understand why we do the things we do and why we think the way we think.
As a CBT therapist, I will examine thinking patterns then help your child recognize how their thoughts, feelings and moods affect their behavior. Next, your child will learn to identify helpful and unhelpful thought patterns and replace unhelpful thinking that may be harmful with thoughts that result in healthier feelings and behaviors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is often used for teen adolescents with chronic suicidal thoughts or feelings, self-harm behaviors or personality disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
As a DBT therapist, I will teach your child strategies to cope with intense negative feelings and take responsibility for their problems and behavior.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is often used to help children accept and understand their inner emotions. As an ACT therapist, I will help your child develop a deeper understanding of their emotional struggles and commit to making needed changes in their behavior to move forward in a positive direction.
FAQs about Child Counseling in Houston
We want the best for our children and sometimes it's tricky to know what our children need. It take a village to raise a child so it's okay to ask for help.
Bringing your child to counseling can be scary especially if you're not sure what to expect so here are some frequently asked questions.
Will my Child Need to Miss School for Counseling?
School is important, so I offer after-school sessions to accommodate you and your child's schedule. However, if my afternoon and evening appointments are full then you child may need to miss a class to see me.
If this is the case, then I can write your child a note for missing class. Mental health problems can affect your child's academic success by making it difficult to stay awake, pay attention and participate in class. Prioritizing your child's mental health will increase their overall wellbeing.
How do I Talk to My Child about Counseling?
It's important to be honest with your child, let them know that you are taking them to see a counselor to make sure they are healthy and everything is okay.
Don't trick your child into coming to counseling because this will only cause them to be confused or reluctant to open-up and participate in counseling.
Did I Fail My Child as a Parent if they Need Counseling?
No! Taking your child to counseling means that you care and love your child and want the best for them. Counseling can also help you learn more about your child.
How Long Will My Child Need Counseling?
The short answer is, it depends. Every child is different, some children will be in counseling for a couple months and others will be in counseling for years.
Your child will start with having weekly counseling sessions and then depending on progress and goals, your child may be moved to attending bi-weekly sessions.
Please reach out to me if you have any other questions. I offer free 10 minute phone consultations.
Should We Work with a Houston Child Psychologist or a Houston Child Therapist?
This will depend on what you're looking for, they have similarities and differences. Let's compare them!
Emotional Support and Behavior Support
Both child psychologists and child therapists are trained to provide emotional and behavior support to your child with therapy and use CBT, DBT and ACT modalities. Both can also work with your child's school counselor to provide the necessary emotional and behavior support at school.
Both child psychologists and therapist can complete psychological evaluations. However, child psychologists are trained to provide more extensive psychological evaluations that help diagnose learning and neurological differences like ADHD diagnosis or autism diagnosis.
How do I Know if My Child Needs Counseling?
If you notice a change in your child's mood and behavior then it is likely that you child can benefit from counseling. This may look like increase worry, withdrawing, acting out more than usual and having irregular patterns.
When children display challenging behaviors inside and outside of the home, this is an indicator that they need additional support through child counseling. The challenging behavior may include becoming easily irritated or annoyed, having anger outbursts, arguing and complaining more than usual.
As adults, we need to recognize the signs of challenging behavior so we can take the next step in seeking child counseling. It's also helpful when parents collaborate with the school to recognize these challenging behaviors. Most of the time, challenging behaviors is a way that our children ask for help.
When we notice our children feel extremely emotional and vulnerable, this is a sign that they need to speak to a mental health professional by going to child counseling.
Although feeling worried and sad are normal feelings especially during life transitions and changes, feeling like this often is unusual and can start to negatively impact daily life.
Withdrawn & Decrease Interest
When children begin to withdraw and participate less in things they typically enjoy doing, this is a signal that child counseling will help them.
Children may feel this way occasionally and can have a "sad day" but when they are feeling anxious and depressed most days, then focusing on their mental health by taking them to child counselor will help.
When children withdraw from people and social settings, they tend to go inward and have unhealthy thinking patterns which can lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
Connect with a Houston Child Therapist to Help Your Child Reach Their Full Potential
Therapist will help your child improve their mood and behavior, accept and understand their thoughts and feelings and find the appropriate coping skills. Therapists will also help parents use the behavioral and emotional skills at home to help their child be successful.
Counseling/therapy can help your child in so many ways but overall the goal is to improve your child's mental health so they can feel good about themselves and do their best so they can overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
Seeing a child therapist is a caring decision for parents.
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child so allowing a child therapist into your village will only strengthen your village and ultimately help your child feel better and do better.
At Advanced Bilingual Counseling, we believe that every child deserves a child therapist that provides a postive therapeutic relationship and a safe and caring environment. I will work alongside of you to give the best support to your child.
It's okay to not have all the answers, I'm here to help. Feel free to reach out for a free 10 minute phone consultation to see if I'm the right fit for your child. Talk to you soon!