6 types of therapy that help children with their mental health

Knowing what types of therapy for children exist can give your parents peace of mind. Learn about the 6 most used.

Last update: 19 March, 2022

Therapy and adulthood are often concepts that go hand in hand. However, therapy and childhood still seem to be ideas that are not reconciled. Why? Because there is a certain resentment regarding children’s mental health. Many parents believe that sending their children to therapy can make it worse.

Therapy for children can be beneficial, since it allows working on those aspects that present difficulties and for which adults are left without resources. For added peace of mind, parents can search for information earlier.

6 types of child therapy

Some of the most used types of therapy for children are the following:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy: works on children’s thoughts and beliefs, helping to identify which ones are distorted or biased. In this way, it seeks to replace them with more functional and adaptive ones. Thoughts are related to emotions and moods, as well as behavior.
  2. Play therapy or ludotherapy: It allows to create a safe atmosphere for the expression of emotions and conflict. In this way, doing like Whether they were other characters or using different elements, we help them express their fears, concerns and interests. The game becomes a communicative resource.
  3. Family therapy: it involves the entire human group that surrounds the child. In this way, relational patterns and communication difficulties that sustain the conflict are identified.
  4. Parent-child interaction therapy: It is a brief therapy, which takes up operating methods and resources of the game. He considers that many of the difficulties of children arise from interactions with parents.
  5. Acceptance and commitment therapy: Little by little, this type of therapy is gaining ground in children. It is about identifying what are the problem behaviors, the situations it avoids and what are the values ​​to which it aspires. We also work from committed action, that is, encouraging us to take steps in the desired direction.
  6. Mindfulness: it is rather a technique that is based on therapeutic meditation. It is oriented to the exercise of conscious and full attention. It helps to relax, control impulses and pay more attention before acting.
Meditation and mindfulness techniques can be adapted to children and adolescents.

Benefits of therapy for children

In addition to the obvious benefit of intervening early and prevent the problem from worsening over time, therapy for children allows them to acquire resources to function comfortably and safely.

This applies to their different activities and tasks, both at school and in sports activities. Also in the relationship with his friends. In this way, the quality of life is improved and development is accompanied.

When is it necessary to consider psychological therapy for children?

As they grow, development has its own challenges. Leaving home to socialize with other children, gain autonomy to explore the world and feel safe, learn new knowledge at school, among other things.

To this we add the unique situation that each family is going through. Therefore, when working with boys and girls, it is always important to look at what is happening in the general environment.

Some of the situations that may require therapeutic intervention are the following:

  • Sleep difficulties: nightmares, night terrors, when the child refuses to go to sleep.
  • Eating disorders: such as anorexia, bulimia, obesity. They usually appear in behaviors such as reluctance to eat or excessive concern for body image.
  • Elimination disorders: refer to difficulties in sphincter control.
  • Learning difficulties: they resist going to school, they cry and become distressed. Sometimes it is a sign that they may be having a problem with a partner or are victims of bullying.
  • Mood-related problems: anxiety, sadness or depression.

When considering each of the situations mentioned, it is important to keep in mind that they are conflicts that occur in a prolonged and repeated manner. In other words, some situations are typical of childhood and require patience, but they are not alarming. For example, it is expected that a child will resist going to sleep if his cousins ​​are in the house and he wants to continue playing.

Lastly, it should be kept in mind that a child is a developing person; nothing is finished or defined. Hence, accompanying with therapy is key as a preventive element.

Children’s therapies should be chosen from among all the options according to the individual characteristics of the patient and the family.

Children’s mental health starts at home

Respectful, affectionate and close treatment is one of the essential conditions to promote the mental health of children. Beyond the therapeutic environment, at home there are many things to do for its positive development.

For example, ask about their emotions and validate them, share quality time, reinforce achievements, give them the necessary security to gain autonomy, teach them different breathing techniques to calm down when they are overwhelmed, allow them to make decisions and let them make mistakes.

That is, mental health is played in many moments. It is much more than the conflict that occurs in a certain time and place. It is the sum of the acts of every day.

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