Child Counseling

Many children and adolescents face challenges at some point while growing up, and need help navigating through these challenges. During these difficult times, visiting a counselor can be a great help to children and their parents. Parents naturally want to ensure that they get the best treatment possible for their children. They most often want a therapist who can truly appreciate and understand their child, by seeing beyond current difficulties and recognizing their child’s true potential. For many this means looking for a therapeutic approach which will not only address immediate concerns, but also encourage healthy emotional expression and incorporate their child’s unique strengths.

The counselors at Allenmore Psychological Associates (APA) have nearly three decades of experience providing the caring child and adolescent counseling Olympia WA, Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place, Gig Harbor, WA and surrounding area families depend on. These therapists understand how difficult it can be to find someone you trust and have confidence in working with your child. Our counselors aim to be a source of support for parents and to collaborate with family members who are involved in your child’s life. This means that you will be an active participant in planning your child’s counseling and work with the therapist to create relevant treatment goals. Allenmore Psychological Associates has several counselors who work specifically with children and adolescents. These therapists use a variety of approaches tailored to your child’s individual concerns and developmental level to provide the most appropriate treatment possible.

Therapy Approaches

There are a number of different therapies that may be used in the treatment of children and adolescents. The counselors at Allenmore Psychological Associates choose the approach that they feel will best suit your child’s individual needs. For example, younger children may have difficulty communicating about their emotions and experiences verbally. They can be ideal candidates for Play Therapy, which creates opportunities for children to express their emotions through imaginative play. In play therapy sessions, your child’s counselor helps them develop new behaviors and skills, which the child can experientially practice through play situations. The therapists at APA are some of only a small handful of counselors trained in play therapy practicing in the greater Seattle to Olympia, WA area.

With older children, cognitive and behavioral therapies have been found through research to be very effective. In this style of therapy, parents and children work with a counselor to learn new skills for dealing with negative behavior, worrisome thoughts and difficult emotions. A therapist can help your child understand how thoughts and feelings impact one another, and work with them on changing the troubled thoughts that often accompany negative feelings. For children and adolescents with behavioral challenges, APA’s counselors will work alongside parents to understand the function of problematic behavior. They can help investigate how kids may be being unintentionally rewarded for these behaviors, and collaborate with parents to create an individualized reward system that will encourage positive behavior.

What Parents Can Expect From Counseling

Most parents bring their child to counseling in hopes of seeing positive changes in their child’s mood or behaviors. When a child is working with a counselor from Allenmore Psychological Associates, parents can expect to see observable changes in their child’s functioning. It takes time for kids to build a trusting relationship with a therapist, and change often tends to be gradual. At any time, your child’s counselor will Parent Holding Child's Hand Child Counseling Olympia Washington
be able clearly to explain to you the reasoning behind their approach to treating your child. Our therapists are trained to help children and adolescents achieve demonstrable goals and to work closely with parents to do so.

Parents are an integral part of their child’s therapy, and are routinely involved in making some changes in the home or school environment to support the work that is being done in the therapy room. Parents are the central role models in their children’s lives and are instrumental in helping children reach their therapy goals. The counselors at Allenmore Psychological Associates understand that parenting can be a challenge, especially when your child is having difficulties. They are always open to answering parenting questions and coaching you on how to respond to problematic behavior. These therapists want to support you in parenting, and will work with you on ways to help your child improve their behavior and handle their emotions.

Confidentiality

We strive to create an environment in which your child can feel safe and comfortable sharing with their counselor. With older adolescents that may mean keeping some specific details of the sessions confidential, while still keeping parents up to date on how their child is progressing. Concerns about confidentiality and privacy between parent and child are something that your counselor can help you and your teen work through together.

Concerns We Frequently Address With Children:

 

  • Depression: withdrawal, relationship issues, poor social skills
  • Anxiety: worry, separation anxiety, social anxiety, shyness, test or performance anxiety
  • Physical Aggression: biting, hitting, kicking, property destruction, cruelty to animals
  • Defiance and Anger Issues: temper tantrums, refusing to follow rules, cursing
  • Adjustment Issues: such as those related to parental divorce, birth of a sibling, Child Adolescent Therapy Olympia WA Counseling Session with Puppetstarting a new school or daycare, blended families
  • School Problems: behavioral problems, issues with authority figures, poor grades, attention problems, social skills deficits, being bullied, school refusal, poor attendance, peer pressure
  • Physical and Sexual Abuse
  • Grief and Loss: death of a parent, grandparent, sibling, pet, or other close family member or friend; loss of a parent due to military deployment, divorce, or incarceration
  • Sleep Issues: nightmares, night terrors, lack of bedtime routines, poor sleep habits
  • Parent-Teen Relationship Issues: defiance, disrespect, lack of communication, refusal to follow household rules
  • Encopresis/Enuresis: toileting concerns
  • Substance Abuse: alcohol, marijuana and other drug abuse
  • Low Self-Esteem: poor body image, feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence
  • Eating Disorders: anorexia, bulimia, binging, purging, compulsive eating

(To learn more about the child and adolescent issues we treat please see our Childhood Disorders page.)

Getting Started with Counseling for Your Child

Here at Allenmore Psychological Associates, we understand that the process of finding a counselor for your child or adolescent and scheduling an initial appointment can feel intimidating and overwhelming. It is natural to be concerned whether or not the counselor will be a good match for your child and for you. Because of this we have a group of compassionate and well-trained front office staff members whose major job responsibilities include finding the right match between your child’s needs and our counselors’ specialties. Our trained staff person will then take you through the process of getting your child scheduled to meet with a counselor at Allenmore Psychological Associates. Depending upon the age of your child, the counselor may choose to meet with you first to gain an understanding of your concerns about your child and to begin to obtain a history about these concerns. The second visit would then involve seeing your child directly. For over 25 years, it has been our privilege to treat children, adolescents and their families in Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia, WA, and the South Puget Sound region. To get the process started for your child or adolescent, simply call us at (253) 752-7320.