Therapy for Babies and Children
Im worried about my child. Every day I wonder….
“Why won’t he sleep?”
“Will she ever learn to use the potty? Preschool starts in a month!”
“My son doesn’t want to go to school, he clings and cries every morning?”
“Something terrible happened to my child, what can I do to help her?”
“I’m getting divorced, how do I tell the kids?”
“My child’s father died, what do I do?”
If any of these statements hit home for you, and you’re looking for a child therapist in San Diego, you are in the right place. When we meet you can tell your therapist all the complicated, messy details about what’s going on at home and at school. You can tell them about your child and what keeps you up at night worrying. We want to know what you love about your kiddo and what makes you crazy. You can tell us the things you’re afraid to say out loud and we won’t judge you. You will feel better in the first session because you will feel heard, seen, and validated. Your worries are important to us and we will help you find ways to cope with them so you can be the great mom (or dad) you want to be!
When we meet with your child, we will create a space where they can feel safe and move at their own pace. The first step in any great therapy is the connection you have with your therapist and this is true for our youngest clients too. We will use play to get to know one another and through play and standardized assessments, we can gain a better sense of how your child is feeling and coping with the issues in their lives. We use several different, fun, approaches to helping young children and we will discuss these in a parent session so you know what to expect and understand the therapeutic treatment plan.
Therapy with Young Children
Therapy with babies and toddlers (0-3) looks different than therapy for pre-school age children and elementary age kids. Here are some different types of therapy that help young children and their parents:
Therapy for Infants and Toddlers
Therapy with infants and toddlers is typically done with both the child and the parent together or just the parents. Often parents are worried about how their child is bonding with them, adjusting to a big change like starting daycare or a new sibling, or have problems with budding social skills like biting or tantrums. Learning more about why your child is acting the way they do is helpful in understanding them. Learning positive parenting skills will help you support your child in their social/emotional development while still creating and enforcing healthy limits and nurturing compliant behaviors in a kind and gentle way.
Therapy for Pre-schoolers
Therapy with preschool-age children is typically a combination of individual sessions with the child, sessions with the parent(s) and child together, and sessions with just the parents for teaching and education. Positive parenting is often a key component, so parents are learning about their child’s social and emotional needs, what is typical in development and how to nurture and manage the expected and problematic behaviors that are happening. Play is the vehicle for therapeutic intervention with children but the relationship with the therapist is the most important part of therapy. Your child and their therapist will develop a safe, trusting, and enjoyable relationship wherein they will be able to express their joys and their fears, learn new social and emotional skills so they feel better about themselves, and get support with the stressful things going on in their lives.
Behavior coaching is a great tool that often accompanies positive parenting classes or sessions. We use two evidence-based models when coaching parents, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and The Incredible Years (see the resources page for links to these programs and read more). Both are rooted in attachment and are intended to help parents practice positive parenting skills with their children in their home or natural environment while being coached on what to say, what to do, and how to manage that tricky issue of non-compliance in a positive way.
Therapy for Tweens and Teens
Therapy with tweens and teens may look more like traditional talk therapy. It is typically a blend of playful or fun activities and talking. Kids will have an opportunity to talk about what’s bothering them, begin to understand why they are feeling the way they do, and learn new and helpful ways of coping and communicating. Sessions are with just the child with parent check-ins as needed.
Child Regulation – Getting and Staying Calm
If your child has experienced trauma we utilize a trauma lens to create a trauma-focussed treatment plan. We use EMDR as a primary model for helping children resolve trauma. To learn more about trauma, click here