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Therapy For Children: When To Go & What To Expect

Therapy For Children: When To Go & What To Expect

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Disclaimer: The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

As a parent, it’s only natural to want to protect your child and keep them from harm.

You know you’d do anything to safeguard their well-being, but what happens when their mental health is the cause of their distress or their problems seem too large for you to solve yourself? 

While it’s easy to feel helpless and discouraged in these instances, you might be relieved to hear that child therapy can often present tools and potential solutions to address your child’s concerns.

In this article, we’ll be exploring various indicators that child therapy could be a helpful next step and go over what you and your child may be able to expect from sessions. 

Signs Your Child May Need Therapy

It’s important to know that anyone can benefit from attending therapy, and there doesn’t need to be a problem or specific reason for going.

However, several different signs may indicate that your child is struggling and needs extra support and guidance beyond your own. The following are some of these signs: 


  • Behavioral concerns at home or school
  • Traumatic experiences your child is struggling to cope with
  • Persistent sadness or depression
  • Changes in eating patterns, whether over or undereating 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Excessive worry or anxiety
  • Difficult life changes such as divorce or moving states
  • Developmental delays
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Changes in the amount or quality of their sleep
  • Poor performance at school or trouble focusing 
  • Unexplained aches and pains

Every child responds differently to life’s demands and challenges, and what’s normal for one kid may be abnormal for another.

One of the benefits of being a parent is knowing your child better than anyone else does.

Given that you know so much about them, it’s important to pay close attention to any observable changes that differ from their usual patterns.

To learn more about children’s therapy while gaining tips for supporting your child through the process, visit

What To Expect From Child Therapy

Before the first session, the therapist will gather intake paperwork, which may include information about your child’s history and the challenges they’re currently facing. The therapist will also collect any relevant insurance information to help cover sessions. 

Next, you’ll attend the initial assessment session.

Here, the therapist will be able to ask questions and gain insight into the struggles your child is dealing with. From there, they can set goals and come up with a treatment plan to ensure sessions stay on track.

This meeting is all about assessing where your child is at and planning for where you and the therapist would like them to be. 

In the first therapy session, the therapist will work to build rapport and trust with your child so that they can feel comfortable opening up.

Your child may be asked about their interests, current problems, performance in school, and who their best friends are, as examples. 

In subsequent sessions, the therapist may use several different techniques to help your child talk about their thoughts and feelings.

Play therapy and art therapy are among the most common, but there are numerous approaches to pick from.

While your child plays or creates, they’ll speak about their experiences, problems, behaviors, and feelings while the therapist listens and makes assessments. 

Over time, the therapist will equip your child with different coping strategies and skills for the concerns they’re facing. For example, kids having trouble with emotional regulation may learn about mindfulness, while those struggling to connect to others might adopt new communication skills. 

The therapist may involve parents or other relevant parties (like a teacher) in your child’s sessions.

When other adults understand what’s happening in the child’s therapy sessions, they can help keep them on track whether at home or school by reminding them of their coping strategies or new skills. Sometimes, family therapy sessions may take place to benefit the entire unit. 

Your child’s therapist will continue sessions and modify treatment goals until significant progress is made.

When this occurs, the therapist will help you and your child prepare for therapy to end by discussing your child’s achievements, reviewing the coping strategies they’ve learned, and developing a maintenance plan.

Follow-up sessions may be scheduled to check in with your child and ensure they’re still improving weeks or months later.

You’re Doing The Best You Can

Taking your child to therapy can be a powerful step toward getting them the support they need. While you probably wish you could help them through anything and everything, know that getting them extra assistance is sometimes the best thing you can do for them. 

Not only does it show your care and concern as a parent, but it also shows your commitment to ensuring their well-being at all stages of their life. The skills your child learns in therapy can carry them through difficult circumstances in childhood and eventually serve them in adulthood. So, be sure you aren’t too hard on yourself; after all, you’re doing the very best you can with the resources and knowledge you have. 

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