Child therapy or child counselling didn’t use to be popular considering the stigma that people place on mental health. This is quite appalling because such kind of therapy can actually bring about positive changes on a child’s life. Counselling children can be considered for a wide area of matters such as trauma, abuse, and neglect as well as strengthening positive growth.
What is child counselling?
Child counselling works the same way as adult counselling, wherein you offer a safe space for the individual to release his emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. Counselors offer an empathetic ear, along with certain tools, to help the counselee feel safe, valued, and understood.
Counselled children receive goal and emotional support throughout the therapy period, focusing on conflict resolution, thinking of possible solutions to daily issues, and understanding their own thoughts. The only difference between child and adult counselling is that the former makes sure that children understand what’s happening and you let them know that they are not alone.
Counselling children can cover the following issues:
- Sexual abuse
- Death of a family member
- Separation or divorce of parents
- Physical and emotional abuse
- Physical and emotional abuse
- Addiction in the family
What are child counsellors?
To achieve successful child counselling, a child counsellor is needed. This individual is a mental health specialist who can offer invaluable insights into a child’s mental, emotional, and developmental health.
These professionals have the skills and expertise needed for counselling children, including recognising, pinpointing, identifying, diagnosing, and assessing a range of issues being gone through by the child. They can also be referred to as child psychologists and child therapists who have had the training to ‘get into the minds of children’ in order to help understand what is happening in their bodies and minds.
When is counselling children important?
There are many instances when parents realise too late that counselling children is important. Looking at the symptoms as they appear can greatly help address and resolve the issue early on. Here are some of these symptoms to watch out for:
- Sleep difficulties and frequent nightmares
- Sudden drop in grades and poor class performance
- Unwarranted aggression
- Expressions of suicidal thoughts
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Dramatic loss of weight and poor appetite
- Expressions of hearing voices in their heads
- Withdrawal from activities they used to love
- Anxiety and worries
- Feelings of sadness, depression, and hopelessness
- Overreactions to situations
- Inability to focus and concentrate
Skills required to become a child counselor
To specialise in counselling children, you need to have the following skills:
- Compassion and patience. Children can sometimes be difficult to work with, so it is important to have patience with them to earn their trust. Compassion helps you sympathise with what the child is going through and understand their situation and feelings.
- Good communication skills. This is important so that the child can understand what you mean to say. It’s equally important to have good listening skills as well.
- Calm and efficient mediation techniques. The issues that will be discussed when counselling children may involve family conflicts with some family members becoming angry.
How to specialise in counselling children?
There are two ways to be able to engage in counselling children: education and licensure/certification.
An extensive amount of schooling is necessary to become a child counsellor. You’ll need to obtain an undergraduate degree such as a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent psychology, social work, and psychology. Then, you can accomplish a related master’s degree afterwards.
There are many certification courses that you can take to supplement what you already have under your belt when it comes to counselling children. Aside from focusing on children, you can also go for crisis counselling and a diploma of counselling.
Counselling children is not only a lucrative profession, but it is also a fulfilling one because you are able to help resolve a child’s issue and develop their personalities.