Child and Adolescent Counselling
Both childhood and adolescence is a time of immense change and growth, and with that comes many stressors that kids (and parents) have to navigate through. In therapy sessions, we offer a supportive environment for children and teens to feel and understood, while also helping them to build insight, coping skills, balance, and resiliency. Therapeutic support is tailored to each child’s unique strengths and needs. In sessions, we integrate various therapeutic approaches (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, narrative, attachment, solution-focused) to help children learn and grow from the difficult events and feelings experienced in their life.
Younger children typically spend more of their time in play, sand-tray, and art-based activities, while older children and teens spend more time talking directly about the challenges they are facing. In addition, your child may engage in direct skill building and practice to help facilitate their positive coping skills (e.g., mindfulness and relaxation), social and conflict resolution skills, or to decrease their fears and anxiety. By building a safe therapeutic environment, children and teens can explore their thoughts and feelings, and make positive change.
Play therapy is a type of intervention that is specifically suited to children’s developmental level. Because play is the primary way that children learn about the world and express their thoughts and feelings, they naturally turn to play when they are overwhelmed. Play provides children with emotional safety, which allows them to describe their experiences, try on new roles and perspectives, express their feelings and inner conflicts, and gain mastery over their fears and anxiety.
When children experience upsetting events or life changes, play also becomes an important part of helping them work through what has happened to them. Directed play activities can also help children develop and practice more effective social skills, coping strategies, frustration tolerance, and problem solving skills. Ultimately, play therapy provides children with the opportunity to explore and heal in a way that feels natural and safe, and that allows them to distance themselves from events that are most difficult for them.
In session, specific activities will differ depending on your child and their presenting strengths and difficulties. Your child will have the opportunity to direct and lead their play process. As well, your child will engage in structured and directive activities to help learn and practice new skills, or to help them understand their life experiences better.
“Enter into children’s play and you will find the place
where their minds, hearts and souls meet.”