Are Child Therapy and Teen Therapy the Same?

Obviously, we all know a child and a teenager behave differently. However, often times professionals are simply designated as someone who works with any aged minor, for example a pediatrician. From a legal standpoint, this makes sense. Both young children and teenagers do not have all of their rights yet and need parental permission for most things. Does this make sense for therapy, though? Let’s take a closer look at some of the differences between therapy with a child and therapy with a teen.

Therapy with a Child

One commonality between children and teens is that they are often not the person who decided to bring them to therapy. However, children and teen usually handle going to involuntary therapy differently. Children are more likely to be compliant and once the therapist shows they are engaged, most children are willing to interact with their therapist. Children often do best in therapy with someone who has trained in play therapy. I think many parents would agree children engage better when they’re able to play. There is an entire branch of therapy trained specifically to handle this and help children process their emotions and experience through their natural play.

Therapy with a Teen

While play therapy can be used with teens to a degree, many teens do not want to participate in these types of activities. In some ways therapy with teens is similar to therapy with adults. However, teens are balancing unique circumstances at this stage in their life. Teens are navigating sometimes complicated love lives for the first time without the experience adults have. They are dealing with issues of bullying, both in the halls of the school and online. They are dealing with large amounts of homework and a slew of extracurricular activities. For the most part, children are not yet facing these issues. Teens are also in a stage of life where they are going through a natural process of pulling somewhat away from their parents. This is a natural part of them finding themselves as an individual. However, this means there are some topics teens do not feel comfortable discussing with their parents. In many cases, it can be easier for a teen to talk about these heavy life issues with a therapist or for a therapist to help the teen learn to talk to their parent about such issues.

Benefits of a Teen Therapist?

I suggest if you have a younger child, find a therapist who specializes in working with children, and if you have a teen, find a therapist who specializes in working with teens. Each age group comes with their own set of challenges. There are some therapists who truly specialize in both age groups. However, in my experience, many therapists do their best work with either one group or the other. Before you pick a therapist for your child, do a little research. What age group do they do their best work with? Finding a therapist who is comfortable with your child’s age group well help your child get the most out of therapy. Getting the most out of each therapy session this way generally means fewer therapy sessions are needed (which means more money left in your pocket!)

If you are looking for a teen therapist in Topeka, KS feel free to give me a call for a free 15-minute consultation at 785-409-2458.

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