Child therapy

Five reasons to consider therapy for your child

Meghan L. Marsac, Phd, is a pediatric psychologist with Kentucky Children's Hospital.

Have you wondered whether therapy could be helpful for your child? Have you asked yourself “Are these ‘normal’ struggles or behaviors?” or “Does my child need more help with their stress or feelings?”

In the past, going to therapy was often seen as a failure or that something must be seriously wrong with someone who needed “professional help.” Luckily, these ideas are changing. Our society is starting to recognize the value of going to therapy to build skills and strategies to navigate life challenges.

Here are five reasons to consider therapy for your child.

Therapy works

For children, there are a couple of types of therapy that are particularly helpful including (but not limited to) cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy, and parent-child interaction therapy. The type of therapy that is best for your child depends on the challenges that your child is having.

Learning adaptive coping skills can help children navigate adversity over time

As our kids grow, we teach them new skills (for example, sleep training, potty training, riding a bike, navigating social relationships). They also learn how to deal with the tough stuff (for example, not wanting to share, not being included with their friends, family challenges). If children learn how to adaptively cope with these challenges at a young age, they can enter adulthood with more tools to be resilient and to deal with the challenges later in life. Therapy can help with this.

Children can learn to ask for help when they need it

It can be hard to ask for help, even as an adult. If your child is having challenges with stress and / or their mental health, teaching them that there are professionals that can help them deal with their stress and mental health provides a foundation for them to learn to ask for help whenever they need it.

A therapist can add another team member to your child’s team

Adding supports to your child’s life can help your child and you. A therapist can be part of your child’s team and help them (and you) navigate the tough stuff.

You can quit it if you don’t like it

If you try therapy for your child and your child or you don’t like it, you can change therapists or stop therapy and try something else.

So, does my child need a therapist?

You don’t have to make this decision on your own. Talk with your child’s pediatrician or find a mental health specialist to have your child evaluated. These professionals can help identify if there are certain skills that your child would benefit from learning in therapy or if there are other supports to help your child.

The ideas in this blog and resources are not a replacement for mental health care. If you are worried about your own or child’s behaviors or emotions, reach out to your doctor for help.

For more information, visit the Kentucky Children's Hospital webpage by clicking here, or call the Pediatric Specialty Clinic at 

859-323-6211

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This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.