Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a problem-focused type of intervention. Rather than an in-depth focus on past experience, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) seeks to teach children to become their own therapist. CBT helps kids recognize their thought patterns and identify where and when those patterns help and where they hurt. Using problem solving strategies and skill building techniques the child, parent, and therapist work together to change dysfunctional thoughts and replace them with more proactive thoughts and behaviors.
CBT emphasizes collaboration and ongoing effort outside of the therapy session. Children will regularly be assigned homework (don’t worry, it’s fun and they get prizes) to increase their awareness of their own feelings. Frequently they will need some assistance from their parents to help identify and record this information. The connection between feelings, thoughts, and behaviors will be a central part of our discussion as will the ability of the child to make changes within that “circle” of relating:
In cognitive therapy, children, adolescents, and their families learn to:
• Distinguish between thoughts and feelings.
• Become aware of the ways in which thoughts can influence feelings in ways that sometimes are not helpful.
• Learn about thoughts that seem to occur automatically, without even realizing how they may affect emotions.
• Evaluate critically whether these “automatic” thoughts and assumptions are accurate, or perhaps biased.
• Develop the skills to notice, interrupt, and correct these biased thoughts independently.
TF-CBT is a conjoint child and parent psychotherapy approach for children and adolescents who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic life events.
It is a components-based treatment model that incorporates trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles and techniques.
Children and parents learn new skills to help process thoughts and feelings related to traumatic life events; manage and resolve distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related traumatic life events; and enhance safety, growth, parenting skills, and family communication.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Play Therapy is a form of therapy in which a child plays in a protected and structured environment with games and toys provided by a therapist, who observes the behavior, affect, and conversation of the child to gain insight into thoughts, feelings, and fantasies. As conflicts are discovered, the therapist often helps the child understand and work through them.