Do any of these behaviors describe your child?
- Disagreeable, irritable, irritating
- Too quiet, withdrawn, or sad
- Hyperactive, into everything
- Inattentive, ignoring directions
- Defiant, angry, aggressive
- Explosive, easily frustrated
- Clingy, anxious, easy to cry
- Having academic or behavior problems at school
- Possibly using drugs or alcohol
- Expressing unhappiness about a family move, divorce, remarriage
- Expressing a wish to die
When children experience something that is too much for them, they let you know with symptoms. When symptoms appear, parents worry. Will time and your love take care of it? Or does your child need some extra help through counseling, medication, or special skills training? IDEALS for Families and Communities can help you sort through these questions and provide therapy and skills training if they are needed.
Counseling for Young Children
For young children (ages 3-10) counseling at IDEALS for Families and Communities takes the form of Child-Centered Play Therapy or Filial Therapy. In Child-Centered Play, children use toys that encourage the expression of issues. Young children rarely have the emotional, logic, and verbal skills to sit down and talk about problems. They play through them or act them out with symptoms. Play therapy provides an alternative to “acting out” or symptom behavior. Often, through a method called Filial Family Therapy, parents become directly involved in the therapeutic play process.
Sessions for preschool children include a half hour of play. They may also include a half hour of work with parent and child together on specific issues, such as managing impulsive behavior, keeping safe, or responding to limits. Because parents are such centers of a young child’s world, separate sessions with parents are usually held once or twice a month.
Counseling for School Aged Children
Children in elementary school or middle school often have problems directly related to school or relationships: parents may be referred for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or there may be behavior problems at school.
Work with these children depends on the nature of the problem. If parents do not object, we prefer to meet with parents and school staff together to understand the issues. Then skills-training is provided to parents, the child, and perhaps even school personnel to help your child overcome his or her symptoms.
Sometimes medication is needed, although IDEALS for Families and Communities is not inclined to make that a first choice. If it is, referrals are made to physicians or psychiatrists. IDEALS for Families and Communities does not have a psychiatrist on staff and cannot prescribe or monitor medication.
Sessions for school aged children are usually an hour, with a half hour play session for young children combined with a skills training parent-child session for the other part of the session. Older children replace individual play with individual skills training. Skills training focuses on the particular issues. ADHD children work on impulse control and attention skills. Children with intense emotions work on skills to manage feelings. Children with social issues practice friendship, bully prevention, or respect skills.