Psychotherapy for children, and what sets it apart from psychotherapy for adults. Find a child psychotherapist in Bangalore.
Introduction: While it may sound that psychotherapy is nothing but ‘talk’ therapy, and hence it is the same whether it involves grown-up adults or children in various stages of their development. However, there are certain core conceptual differences when we compare psychotherapy for children vis-à-vis that for adults.
These conceptual differences are of vital significance and can be decisive while dealing with certain conditions like school refusal, separation anxiety which is majorly seen in the paediatric population.
Differences between adults and children with respect to development, which can decide the approach for psychotherapy:
- Cognitive (thinking ability) Development
- Speech Development
- Social-Skills Development
- Temperament/Personality related factors
- Morality Development
The next section will discuss how
- The above mentioned 6 aspects set apart children in various stages of development, from grown-up adults.
- These aspects have a vital bearing on the process of psychotherapy in children.
- How cognitive development in children is different vis-à-vis adults. How cognitive development has a bearing on different psychotherapeutic processes in children. While children are innately endowed with thinking ability, it goes through various stages, before they ‘start to think like an adult. Children in various ages are having different abilities and these abilities are also compounded by the presence of intellectual disabilities (mental retardation). Say, a 10 year-old in terms of chronological age may have the thinking capacity of a 5 year old due to his/her intellectual ability. In certain other situations, the difference can be very subtle, and not marked. The psychotherapist has to be cognizant of the level of cognitive development of an individual child. Psychotherapist has to factor in cognitive development aspects in the process of psychotherapy, and tailor their words/sentences/requests/instructions, accordingly. Failing which, the process of psychotherapy may be hindered/derailed as the child cannot understand the situation like an adult does.
- How speech development in children is different vis-à-vis adults. How speech development has a bearing on different psychotherapeutic processes in children. To have age appropriate thinking ability is one aspect; but there are several children who do not have the speech/communication skills and are unable to articulate their thoughts, no matter how developed their cognitive ability is. Failing to factor in the subtle delays in speech development can again make the child feel not understood, thereby hampering the process of psychotherapy.
- How the development of social-skills in children is different vis-à-vis adults? How the development of social-skills has a bearing on different psychotherapeutic processes in children? Children with poorly developed social-skills cannot understand the gestures of the therapist in the right context and also cannot utilize the non-verbal communications faculty to the fullest, which is very vital in the process of psychotherapy. This may result in a not so beneficial therapeutic alliance and can derail the process of psychotherapy.
- How temperament in children is different vis-à-vis personality adults. How it has a bearing on different psychotherapeutic processes in children.
- How the development of morality in children is different vis-à-vis adults? How the development of morality has a bearing on different psychotherapeutic processes in children? Children who have not completed their stages of morality development may sometimes have a poor understanding of the consequences of their actions (both on self and on others). Thereby some acts by children with poor self-regulation and partially developed morality can involve acts that may appear unlawful/immoral from an adult perspective. Not being informed about the child’s stage of moral development can hence result in judgemental errors by the therapist. This can make or break a therapeutic alliance with the developing child.
& Also, Product of the social environment
Features may be identified from early childhood
Shaped in later periods of development
Individual differences in temperamental traits are also observed in animals
Prerogative of humans
Stands for stylistic aspects
Content aspect of behavior
integrative function of human behavior
Temperament in a child is just one of the ingredients that go into the making of an adult personality. However, not factoring in the other various elements (like family environment, parenting, etc), which can be additive/complementary/supplementary to the temperament while the formation of a personality can lead to poor understanding of the child by the psychotherapist. This can lead to judgemental errors, and errors in the inputs by the therapist to parents in terms of handling the child’s difficulties. Thereby the therapeutic process may not be comprehensive/holistic.
The above section has demonstrated how the process of child psychotherapy is to be developmentally informed and is to be aligned with the individual child’s developmental level.
It also highlights how the process of psychotherapy in children is essentially different from that in adults.
It also underscores the fact that for a strong therapeutic alliance which is one of the vital ingredients for a successful psychotherapy program, an in-depth understanding of the various developmental facets in a growing child is very essential.
Children connect very well to psychotherapists who factor in these aspects while addressing the problems on hand. Informing the parents about the developmental levels and training them to approach the difficulties faced by their children in a developmentally informed and sensitive manner is also a part of the process of psychotherapy.
Mpower, a mental health initiative by Aditya Birla Education Trust, has an experienced team of psychologist, psychiatrist, child therapist, and various other counsellors available at various locations like Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Also, mental health centre is opening up soon in Pune.
You can reach out to these counsellors from 10 am to 6:30 pm at the below centres,
MPOWER- THE CENTRE (MUMBAI)
1/155, 15, Nyaymurti Sitaram
Patkar Marg, Khareghat Colony,
Hughes Road, Mumbai - 400007
+91 22 23828133
+91 22 23856228
MPOWER- THE CENTRE (BENGALURU)
2nd Floor, 2983, 12th Main,
Indira Nagar, HAL, 2nd stage,
Bengaluru - 560 008.
+91 80 25209712
MPOWER - THE CENTRE (KOLKATA)
Unit N210A-211, 2nd Floor,
North Block, Ideal Plaza,
11/1, Sarat Bose Road
MPOWER - THE FOUNDATION (MUMBAI)
22B, vasantrao N Naik Marg,
Opp. Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo,
Mumbai - 400 007.
+91 22 2386 8650
+91 22 2387 5147
+91 81087 99299
Also read, Crucial aspects of child psychology. Find a child psychiatrist
or child psychologist near you.
What constitutes a comprehensive and integrated child development? Find a
child psychologist or child psychiatrist in Bangalore.
What to expect from psychotherapy and how it works?
What is individual psychotherapy and how does it help?
Most common child psychology disorders. Find the best child therapist or
child psychologist near you.