How Child Psychotherapy Can Be Made To Work

Child psychotherapy is a growing part of the overall discipline of psychotherapy, which is making a difference in the lives of many people now that it is an accepted way to treat psychological difficulties.

There is no doubt that the technique is potentially effective, but there are variables which determine exactly how effective, and what the chances are of a complete reversal of the mental difficulties which have plagued the patient.

Trust is the most important factor, and this becomes even more so in the case of children.

psychotherapy approaches

Psychotherapy is not a miracle cure for mental illnesses, neither can it dramatically alter the behavior of a child overnight. What it can do is allow the practitioner to form an overall view of what is causing the problem, and then give them the opportunity to drill deeper.

In psychotherapy, the most important skill is to be able to make the patient work out the difficulty for themselves. This way, they will make a conscious effort to change their own thought process over time. Until the practitioner gets a coherent overview of the situation, it may not even be possible to identify the thought process which needs changing.

The usual method used in psychotherapy is to have regular one on one dialog between the patient and the practitioner, with the patient asked to examine their thoughts. These sessions work best when they are regular, and when there is trust between the two parties.

The problems in the case of children are maintaining concentration for long enough, and overcoming natural suspicion. The sessions which are carried out with children need to be on a shorter timescale, unless the child remains calm and is obviously concentrating on the information which is being given.

The key to ending suspicion is simple, and that is to have dialogue before the actual sessions take place.


There is no doubt that child psychotherapy is an incredibly complex and difficult career to follow, when compared to the traditional psychotherapy for adults.

Most practitioners will find it far easier to relate to, and establish rapport with, someone closer to their own age than a child. This will be seen as a challenge by many, who want to work with children and who will dedicate a lot of time to overcoming the difficulties.

You do not need any extra qualifications to be able to carry out this work, but it useful to take a specialist course to learn new techniques.

There are training courses which are offered by those in the psychotherapy business, either through online learning or through the college system. You don't need to be a practicing psychotherapist to take advantage of most of them, although your understanding will probably be heightened if you are.

You will obviously need to be a licensed practitioner before you can start practicing on real children. If you want to improve this side of your therapy, it will probably be best to work in a practice with other psychotherapists, and to take on some light cases just to start with.

As your expertise in giving child psychotherapy improves, so you will be able to take on more young clients and deal with them confidently.

This is one area of psychotherapy where experience is worth more than hours of reading text books, so it is vitally important to take notes and to make sure what happens in your own experience.

All psychotherapists operate in a slightly different way, so analyze your own notes and see if you can come up with your own style.

Children, of course, themselves have very different personalities, and this will also influence how to deliver psychotherapy to children.

Author: Marc Knox