Making the decision to take your child to therapy can be intimidating. For a parent, it might make you feel that you have failed, or that you’re unable to care for your child in the way they need it the most. All of these thoughts are lies, and it’s important to discredit them as such. Taking your child to see a counselor, therapist or psychologist is a brave step in humility and genuine care on their behalf, because there are some things a parent just isn’t equipped to handle.
If your child breaks her arm, are you expected to know how to put that bone back together and apply a cast right there in the kitchen? Of course not! It takes someone with years of medical school and experience to know how to do that. The same method of thinking can, and should, be applied to cases of mental health.
If your child experiences a dramatic change, suffers from anxiety or depression, or is undergoing an overwhelming situation like a divorce, trauma, grief or loss, you as a parent aren’t, and should not be, expected to know how to handle it. This is why pediatricians and counselors exist – they have been educated solely to understand and help during these times.
When you choose to enroll your child in counseling, it can be nerve-wracking both for you and your child or teen simply because of the unknowns. Counseling has a bit of a connotation floating around it, that someone seeing a counselor is “crazy.” This concept, which might be more familiar to a teen than to an elementary level child, should be disproved as quickly as possible. Speaking with a counselor doesn’t mean one is crazy; rather, it means that some things that happen in life which we simply can’t deal with on our own, not because we are weak, but because we haven’t been given the right tools to handle the situation.
You can explain counseling to your child like this – if you’re building a house, tools like a frying pan and a hair dryer are useless for hammering nails into the wood. But, when given a hammer, you can build a much better home than when you were trying to use a hair dryer! When a counselor gives you the right tools to build strong mental health, you can create a healthy, peaceful life for yourself.
When a child understands the situation, it isn’t scary anymore. This holds true with counseling. Once they understand what it is, the nerves desist and they might show active interest in talking with someone who will give them the right tools to handle all the emotions swirling around in their head.
Online counseling for children and teens
The current trend for counseling is online – teletherapy or telepsychiatry, it’s called. Teletherapy has many great benefits, including the ability for people to receive counseling who previously could not, whether because of distance or inaccessibility. It gives people the chance to talk with a counselor in greater privacy, without worrying about bumping into people you know in the waiting room, as well as simply enjoying the comfort of your home for the duration of the session. When conducting an online counseling session for a child or teen, these benefits hold true.
In addition, parents have the option to be in the room during an online counseling session. For some children, this might be an added benefit, especially if they have difficulty speaking with strangers without mom or dad’s presence. For others, they might have no problem chatting with a counselor on their own – however, it’s comforting for some parents to know they have the option of sitting in on the first session or two to calm the nerves of their child.
The flow of the session
A teletherapy session works much in the same way as an in-person counseling session. The counselor will ask your child or teen questions about themselves and slowly learn about your child, from your child. Some child psychologists engage their clients in play therapy, which will look slightly different depending on each therapist (talk with your child’s therapist ahead of time to learn more).
Others might practice art therapy, helping engage the child in their emotions through their creative expression. Again, these modalities might look slightly different with the inception of teletherapy. It’s always a good idea to chat with the counselor ahead of time to know exactly what to expect, both for your peace of mind, and your child’s.
No matter what method is used, the ultimate goal of child counseling remains the same – to give your child the tools they need to healthily cope with difficult situations, both now and in the future.
Starting online counseling for your child today
Online counseling can be an important step for your child’s mental health. Trained child psychologists not only know how to talk with children, they are also experienced in understanding their ways of displaying their emotions and feelings without them explicitly disclosing information.
If your child as age 14+ and needs to talk with a counselor, reach out to Pyramid Online Counseling. Promising privacy, security and, of course, compassion and care, our counselors can help you help your teen back to a life of freedom and security. Call 833-525-3077 to connect with an online counselor for your teen today.