Counseling children is a unique specialty in the field of counseling that incorporates imaginative play and expressive arts to help children communicate what is happening inside of them. Most adults express themselves through “talk”, we use words to share our struggles and joys. Children do not always have the words to describe what they are experiencing on the inside. Those who specialize in counseling children have specific training and experience in techniques that are proven to help children overcome life’s difficulties.
Play in counseling children
Children express themselves through play, They act out inner emotions and struggles through the imaginative experience of trucks, dolls, dinosaurs, and legos. A skilled counselor encourages this expression by engaging with the child in the play experience. The counselor will summarize, narrate, or verbalize themes of play in order to validate the experience and empathize with the feelings. This sharing of inner experience allows the child to feel safe while gaining a deeper understanding of their own feelings and thoughts.
Expressive arts in counseling children
Some children prefer to express themselves through art. The counselor designs projects or activities that enable the child to express themselves in this way. Art projects may include painting, drawing, play dough, sand tray or collage. No matter the medium the child is encouraged to express themselves while the counselor provides structure, empathy, and validation.
Attachment in counseling children
One of the most important aspects of counseling children is strengthening the relationship between child and parent. The counselor is focused on helping the parent to understand the child’s inner experience. The parent may act as a “detective” with the sole purpose of understanding the child’s experience. In other cases the counselor will use playful, active, and engaging activities to build connection and relationship between the child and parent. Either way active involvement of the parent is crucial when working with children.
If your child is struggling in school, at home, or with friends we can help. We offer regular appointments with after school times available. We seek to schedule first appointments within a week of your initial phone call. Call 217-231-1413 to schedule an appointment.