It is not uncommon fo hear of children needing extra support to cope with difficult situations that they have to deal with or to understand their emotions and behaviours.
When this happens parents may want to seek help in the form of counselling. This help can come from a professional counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist.
Counselling for children can be undertaken in various ways and it depends on the child, his/her age, the problem and the maturity level of the child. A number of methods are used to encourage children to speak about what is bothering them. There are counsellors who specialise in play or art therapy for young children. Through reading of stories and talking about the feelings of a character in the story helps the child to discuss his or her own feelings. Some times drawing/painting/drama may be used to help children express themselves. These methods all give the counsellor a great insight into the unconscious mind of the child.
Older children may prefer talking therapy but the counselling approach will depend on the particular individual. Although different methods may be used for counselling children, the aim of counselling for both children and adults is to help them to cope with or get rid of the issue that is posing the problem.
Counselling children and young people involves helping the child to develop a positive attitude to life, to recognise their strengths and weaknesses and to express themselves in a respectful manner.
Counselling does not involve making decisions for the child, imposing beliefs on them or preaching. Counselling may be provided to children and young people on their own, or it may be provided to a child as part of a family session.
Some of the issues for which parents might seek help for the child include:
family and step-family relationships