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It’s common for children and adolescents to experience obstacles as they grow. Occasionally, however, a child’s reaction to life’s pressures can become moderately to severely maladaptive. Depression deepens, anxieties intensify, and they become more socially isolated. Alarming coping mechanisms may appear, such as cutting, substance use, and running away. Statements of futility or morbid thoughts about “not going on living’ or being “better off dead” start to appear.

These are all signs that a particular family—or perhaps any family—is well out of its depth in forming an adequate or thorough response to the child’s distress or symptoms. At this time, child or adolescent therapy can help.

Child and Teen Therapy Profiles

During initial assessments, we look at a number of different factors in determining the appropriateness of treatment. Therapeutic approaches and interventions are thoughtfully considered so that you and your loved ones receive effective treatment that fosters healing, growth, and positive change.

  • Disruption in daily adaptive functioning
  • Significant delay or failure to meet expected developmental milestones; or, regression to earlier levels of functioning
  • Notable decrease in socialization
  • Significant difficulties in the handling of emotions and impulses
  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Problems with conduct or cognition and thought
  • Issues around sexual preference and identity
  • Substance use or abuse, suicidal ideation or gestures, pregnancy, abuse trauma, separation/abandonment/ loss trauma, auditory/visual hallucinations, eating disorder, or general distress
  • Any overt behavior that involves aggression, self-harm, fire-setting, school failure, anti-social activity, or which appears odd or bizarre.

when To reach out

One rule of thumb is for a parent to think of seeking outside help in a matter analogous to how they might look at their children’s physical health. If your child has a small cut or scrape, you can handle that at home; a deep, profusely bleeding gash means a trip to the ER. A sprain you can often treat with some ice; when a bone breaks, you don’t even open the freezer—you have a doctor put on a cast. If you have a skill set or “tool box” to deal with the problem, and have done so before, try to handle it again. If you feel that the problem is outside of your experience or depth this is when you should start looking for professional help.

We encourage parents to reach out for a consultation closer to the beginning of the problem. It is of course very positive when parents use their own resources or natural familial or community supports to resolve their child's struggles. There are times however when these resources and supports are not enough; when their children's struggles seem to persist and at times worsen. This is when outside professional help can make the difference, resolving emotional, social, and behavioral problems as well as helping to restore family harmony.

 

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