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Children in Therapy

play therapy | Child Psychological Services | Bothell

Why Play Therapy? Children communicate differently and therapy for a child needs to be different than therapy for an adult.  Play is a part of every normal childhood and a natural form of communication for children.  The neuroanatomy involved in creative activities such as drawing, storytelling, and imaginative play are directly linked to emotions.  Play can often be effectively used to enable behavioral change even after parents, teachers, or other counselors have not had success using logic and telling children what they need to do to change. Even talkative and intelligent children are not always emotionally and developmentally able to express and work through their feelings verbally like adults.  Play therapy is an evidenced based practice which allows children to use their natural creativity and ability to heal in ways best suited to their developmental level.

Our role is to help your child develop awareness of their thoughts and emotions, and help them connect this awareness to their behavior. By assisting in the development of this insight, they emerge better equipped to regulate and make more successful choices. Our goal is to teach them coping skills, to provide them encouragement and understanding, and help them develop a strong and confident sense of self-efficacy.

We understand that parenting in general can be extremely taxing, let alone adding therapy to your weekly routine. We want to help you navigate this season of your life by showing you how to set healthy boundaries and follow-through on positive discipline. We want to support and guide you with understanding your child’s specific needs, and how to best nurture their growth while maintaining a healthy family system.

Adolescents in Therapy

adolescent counseling

Youth today speak a very different language. Social media and technology have shaped the way our teens interact in and view the world around them. They live in a fast paced, public, global world where even the most difficult emotions are summed up with computer ideograms. Anxiety is on the rise due to the nature of these tools.

We want to help your teen untangle the complexity of their emotions so they can be more prepared with life skills to face the challenges of today’s world. We offer a biblical foundation for support with interpersonal relationships, boundaries, and identity development. We can provide a safe environment where they can talk in confidence while getting the support and guidance they need to adapt and grow within their family system. Many teens come to us feeling lost or confused. Even if you have provided a loving and supportive platform for them, they may not be comfortable talking about some challenges with you. As a team, our role is to provide you guidance and support in parenting your teen, to help your teen understand themselves, and to help the family gain courage and confidence toward positive change.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

TF-CBT is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. Research shows that TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple and complex trauma experiences. 

Both parents and children may become able to better process emotions and thoughts relating to a traumatic experience through TF-CBT, which can provide those in therapy with the necessary tools to alleviate the overwhelming thoughts causing stress, anxiety, and depression. TF-CBT can help people who have experienced trauma learn how to manage difficult emotions in a healthier way.  

TF-CBT’s main application is the treatment of posttraumatic stress. Our goal is to help survivors of trauma, whether the trauma was a single occurrence or multiple events, address and resolve the distress resulting from these events and ultimately decrease the negative behavior patterns and emotional responses often developing as a result of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or other trauma. Children and adolescents who have experienced these traumas may find TF-CBT an effective method in the process of returning to a healthy state of functioning.

Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP)

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a form of psychotherapy intended to help those with obsessive thoughts refrain from responding with compulsions or rituals. ERP, which gradually exposes clients to stimuli that induce their maladaptive responses, belongs to the category of treatment known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

ERP is commonly used to alleviate obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a condition in which people repeatedly experience unwanted and distressing thoughts or feelings, often in response to specific stimuli. A person with OCD may touch a doorknob in a public restroom and worry intensely about germs; another may have intrusive, taboo thoughts about violence or sexuality, or fear of causing others harm. In OCD, these frequent, uninvited thoughts provoke anxiety and lead to compulsive rituals—such as excessively washing one’s hands or ruminating about troubling matters. The compulsive rituals may temporarily reduce anxiety, but in the long term, they promote a cycle of obsession and compulsion that prolongs distress. ERP is a proven approach to breaking the cycle.

Exposure and response prevention is designed to gradually reduce the anxiety that feeds obsessions and compulsions. The Exposure in ERP refers to exposing yourself to the thoughts, images, objects and situations that make you anxious and/or start your obsessions. While the Response Prevention part of ERP, refers to making a choice not to do a compulsive behavior once the anxiety or obsessions have been “triggered.” All of this is done under the guidance n therapy, and eventually you learn to do your own ERP exercises to help manage your symptoms.