logo
Adolescent and Child Psychiatry
happy family

Is psychotherapy the right treatment for my child?

This is an important question that generally comes down to a variety of clinical factors and emphasizes the importance of beginning with a thorough evaluation when I first meet a child and his or her family. In general, individual psychotherapy is most effective when the child’s underlying problems predominantly concern mood (e.g. sad, depressed) and/or anxiety (e.g. feeling worried, tense). A general curiosity about thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, a willingness and ability to communicate thoughts and feelings verbally or through activity, or, in the case of younger children, the ability to engage in imaginative play with the therapist, can all predict a good fit for psychotherapy and, possibly, a good response to this treatment. It is also important that the child and family feel comfortable working with the therapist and that, if at all possible, the child (and family) do not perceive that they are being coerced into getting this treatment. Psychotherapy can be an intensive and, at times, upsetting experience, as, by its very nature, it can involve the discussion of highly emotionally-charged topics. The best and longest-lasting results, in my experience, come from psychotherapies that are more intensive in their frequency (i.e. at least weekly) and are long-term. The decision about whether this is the right treatment and whether I am the right treater for your child is one that should ideally be made collaboratively. It is possible that other types of treatment would be more appropriate for a child and his or her family and, if this is the case, I would be happy to facilitate referring the family for such treatment.