Your child's behavior is leaving you scratching your head. You can't figure out what's going on but your parental spidey-senses are telling you something is up. The parental techniques and interventions you usually use aren't impacting anything. You're thinking this might be beyond crowd-sourcing suggestions from a mommy-Facebook group.
You know kids sometimes have really big feelings and don't know how to express them, but you feel like what you are seeing in your child is a different level of difficult. It's causing you to wonder if there is something else going on.....maybe the beginnings of some anxiety, or trouble adjusting to a recent change that occurred. You're not sure if depression shows up in kids…or what it looks like if it does.
You do know that you can see that your child is distressed. And you can certainly feel that you’re distressed, as well. You’re torn between being out of patience in the moment, and being heartbroken to see your child struggling and knowing you’ll do close to anything to help them feel better.
You can see the behavior impacting your other kids, as well. You know they need their own attention and nurturing, but it’s so hard when your other child, who is struggling so badly to manage their own emotions, seems to be barely hanging in there.
Behaviors You Might Be Seeing That Could be a Sign to Start Child Therapy
Routines have become really difficult
Every interaction feels like a power struggle
Not doing the things they like to do
Not completing school work
Struggling to get along with other kids
Sudden onset of fear of something that used to be no problem (like bedtime or going to school)
Or maybe this one has always been your “difficult” or “strong-willed” or “sensitive” child, and the accommodations you’ve been making all along have become unreasonable or are causing too much stress on the whole family, and it seems like there has to be a better way.
Play Therapy in St. Louis, MO Can Help
We use play therapy in our practice to help kids, ages 5 years and up, regain (or gain for the first time!) control over their emotions. Using play therapy interventions--ranging from art activities to board games or puppet play to craft projects--we can help your child (whether they are “little” or “big”!) express what is going on inside and learn new coping skills. As your child starts to feel a sense of power over what is going on inside of them, they often can communicate better and more effectively with you as their parent, which can also bring some increased moments of harmony to your relationship. As “calm” becomes something attainable for your child, your own stress has a chance to decrease.
Additional Therapies for your Child
In our practice, we also use some additional approaches to help your child get the best services for them. Sometimes we use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which will help your child learn how their thoughts can influences their emotions. This is an additional way to build their coping tool box. Like adults, the more tools kids have access to, the more likely they are to succeed beyond the therapy room.
We may also use Solution-Focused Therapy, which is helping the child find the strengths and positive strategies they are already use-even if they don’t realize it! So many times, kids have amazing approaches to problem-solving that they are already pulling from. We help them realize this and find ways to replicate those strategies more frequently. It also gives them a really cool boost of self-esteem, autonomy, and sense of power. It’s really fun to watch their faces and general reactions when their therapist points this out to them!
What does Child Counseling through Play Therapy Actually Look Like?
Our play therapist, Lynne Short, uses a range of treatment approaches to work with children, just like all of our therapists do when working with adults! When she works with children, Play Therapy is always used but it can happen in a lot of different formats.
Child centered - where the child leads the entire session, and the therapist simply reflects what the child shows them. This is particularly useful with younger children.
Directive - where the therapist presents an activity or intervention, for example, an art activity about feelings, designed to address a particular issue and then talks with the client about the activity and the feelings they experienced.
Sand Tray therapy - Using miniature figures placed in a sand tray, therapist gives child opportunity to create scenes from their lives that may be too difficult to talk about, or to create what they would like their life to look like.
Imaginary play therapy - Using puppets, dollhouse, stuffed animals, etc, therapist and child interact in imaginary play and role play to help children work through difficulties they may be experiencing in a nonthreatening way.
Bibliotherapy - Therapist shares a book with a child that relates to what he or she is experiencing, example, grief, and then they discuss and possibly do a follow up activity such as art or journaling.
Solution focused play therapy - Therapist works with child to understand what outcome they are working toward, what strengths they are already using to cope with the difficulty and how they could use those strengths to get closer to the desired outcome. Various games and scaling activities are used.
CBT - In conjunction with above modalities, psychoeducation and helping children learn to reframe their thoughts to be more helpful to them in times of distress is also useful.
Play Therapy and Child Counseling Can Bring Both You…and Your Child…The Relief and Happiness You Deserve
We’re not saying child counseling is going to make the parenting waters….or the world of growing up….completely smooth for the rest of time. But we can tell you that play therapy can draw your child out of their concerning behaviors and back to a place of happy, more carefree, childlike (appropriately!) interactions. It’ll take work, and it’ll take patience, but it can happen! And as you see your child gain some freedoms from the tough emotions that have been plaguing them---and you!---for awhile, you’ll feel more confident as a parent again. You’ll feel things settle in your house. And when you see your child smile again….you’ll know you made the right decision.
Begin Play Therapy in St. Louis, MO
Your child doesn't have to feel out-of-control forever. They can gain skills to handle their emotions and behaviors and experience the happiness of childhood. Play therapy in our Ballwin, MO counseling clinic, we can help. We can also chat via telehealth online therapy in Missouri and online therapy in Illinois. Truly, anywhere in the state! Taking this first step is a big deal, so you are already making great progress! Just follow these simple steps and we will get started.
Contact Marble Wellness to schedule an appointment
Chat with our team, your STL therapists
Start to live a more confident, centered and connected life, today
Other Mental Health Services at Marble Wellness
At Marble Wellness, our goal is simple: Counseling services designed to help set you on a path of living a more fulfilled, calm, and happy life. We specialize in anxiety, depression, grief, chronic illness, therapy for men, couples, and maternal overwhelm. We can also help new moms with various postpartum concerns, moms in the thick of parenting, and moms with teens. We can also chat from wherever you are in the state with online therapy in Missouri and online therapy in Illinois. No matter where you are in your journey, we would love to support you.