Children and Teens
Emotions can be overwhelming, and often, children and teens do not have the language to express their emotions and needs. Youth may show their feelings through their actions, for instance. Early intervention, exposure therapy, and ‘coping tools’ help increase bravery and healthy coping.
What to look for:
- Aches and pains
- Clingy behavior
- Tantrums and irritability
- Upset over ‘small’ things
- Getting ‘stuck’ on certain things
- Trouble with change
- Worries and ‘what ifs’
- Interrupted sleep or insomnia
- Fewer moments of joy or pleasure
The good news is… your children are already coping! The even better news is… evidence based therapy can help!
Some common CBT strategies include:
- Name/label emotions – if you can name it, you can tame it!
- Noticing early signs that emotions are building – catch it early!
- Identify what strategy works at low vs. high stress times
- Role play to practice skills
- Build tolerance to mistakes or frustration
- Use courage thoughts and compassion
- Mindfulness to stay ‘present’
- Behavioral exposures to face fears- real life practice!
What role will caregivers play? In treatment, parents and caregivers play an active role. Parents and caregivers will work to set reasonable expectations, encourage use of coping strategies, and foster resilience rather than reliance. For communication and to maximize our time together, I often contact other people in a child’s life, including school teachers and staff, pediatrician, psychiatrist, and former/current therapists. This helps to build a shared language to understand the concern and how to response in the most helpful way. We will work together to decide who it makes sense to be in touch with.