refers to a variety of techniques and methods used to help
children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties
with emotion and behavior. Although there are different types
of psychotherapy, each relies on communications as the basic
tool for bringing about change in a person's feelings and
behaviors. Psychotherapy may involve an individual child,
group or family. In children and adolescents, playing, drawing,
building, and pretending, as well as talking, are important
ways of sharing feelings and resolving problems.
of the initial assessment, the child and adolescent psychiatrist
will determine the need for psychotherapy. This decision will
be based upon such things as the child's current problems,
history, level of development, ability to cooperate in treatment,
and what interventions are most likely to help with the presenting
concerns. Psychotherapy is often used in combination with
other treatments (medication, behavior management, or work
with the school). The relationship that develops between the
therapist and the patient is very important. The child or
adolescent must feel comfortable, safe and understood. This
type of trusting environment makes it much easier for the
child to express his/her thoughts and feelings and to use
the therapy in a useful way.
helps children and adolescents in a variety of ways. They
receive emotional support, resolve conflicts with people,
understand feelings and problems, and try out new solutions
to old problems. Goals for therapy may be specific (change
in behavior, improved relations with friends), or more general
(less anxiety, better self-esteem). The length of psychotherapy
depends on the complexity and severity of problems. Child
and adolescent psychiatrists are specifically trained and
skilled to provide psychotherapy.
should ask the following questions:
is psychotherapy being recommended?
are some of the results I can expect to see?
long will my child be involved in therapy?
frequently will the doctor want to see my child?
the doctor be meeting with just my child or the entire family?
will we (the parents) be informed about our child's progress
and how can we help?
can we expect to see some changes? A child and adolescent
psychiatrist will be able to provide you with answers to your
questions and concerns.
#53 Updated 11/95
Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving
us permission to use this article.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists
who are physicians with at least five years of additional
training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child
and adolescent psychiatry.
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