By Kellie Cathey
The children I work with in my practice are sweet, sensitive children who are soaking in a lot about the world and struggling to make sense of it. These struggles can be through big life transitions (divorce, loss, moving, etc.) or through smaller life changes. And these issues often manifest as anxiety or behavioral concerns.
My therapy practice was created to help families raise happy, resilient children. My work with children and families ranges from individual family therapy to group therapy and workshops for both parents and children. Each of these services was created to help children become more secure and whole in the world.
Play Family Therapy
In my individual therapy work with families, I work with children to help them express their feelings and needs in a way that feel natural to them (through play). Then I communicate the child’s feelings and needs to parents make change at home.
Individual play family therapy is perfect for families are looking to learn ways to help their child. We learn concrete coping skills and heal deeply to create lifelong change.
Mindfully Me: 8 Week Mindfulness-Based Group Therapy (Children Ages 6-9)
In Mindfully Me, children learn a core mindfulness skill they need to thrive in the world. In addition to the children learning the skill, parents are sent home with a worksheet each week to help the child use the skill at home.
Mindfully Me is perfect for children who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, limit testing and not listening, tantrums, managing big feelings, poor frustration tolerance, social anxiety and having big worries about the world.
Workshops for Children
Along with my Mindfully Me Group therapy, I offer a Mindfully Me Workshop for children ages 5-10. In this workshop, children learn the basic mindfulness skills learned in our group therapy setting but in a shorter amount of time.
What to Look For When Considering Therapy
Here are some things I tell parents to look for when thinking about therapy for their children.
Anxiety in children can show up in many ways. They may have big worries that interfere with being a care-free child. They could have frequent outbursts of sadness and anger or extreme mood changes. Children with anxiety can also experience emotional rigidity or lack of flexibility in normal routines. Anxiety can also manifest as frequently needing to know what happening next or over planning. Children can also show they anxiety in their play as up or dumping toys frequently.
Behavioral concerns in children can show themselves as inconsolable emotional meltdowns (‘tantrums’) that extent past age 3. They could have aggression towards parents or siblings (punching, kicking or hitting, intentionally wanting to hurt someone, stealing or lying). Behavioral concerns in children can also manifest as a ‘meanness’, such as unkindness or spitefulness towards parents or other children. Children who express their emotional concerns behaviorally are also prone to extreme limit testing to intentionally provoke a reaction from parents and power struggles where conflicts with parents, siblings, or peers are hard to resolve.
When thinking about therapy for your child, it can be so hard to know what’s developmentally ‘normal’ or what could manifest into a bigger struggle down the road. If your intuition is telling you something feels too hard for you to handle on your own, trust your gut. I have countless families feel so relieved when they finally reach out for help. You can find what you need, too.
This is a sponsored post created in partnership with Kellie Cathey, Play Therapist.