Your child or adolescent won’t talk to you.
You see your child or adolescent struggling, but you can’t get them to talk to you. You’ve tried everything from bribing them to forcing them to sit down with you. Nothing has worked.
As your child goes through struggles, you’re reminded of the struggles you had as a child or adolescent. Growing up can be so emotionally taxing on both of you!
You don’t know how to help, but you want to!
You want the best for your child or adolescent, to lead them to a bright future, and to let them know you love them. Sometimes, you struggle to get these messages across.
You need extra support and guidance. Your child or adolescent needs a safe space to explore and be free of pressure, judgment, or influence.
Our Specialists & Child Therapists in Philadelphia
Healing and strength are possible.
Through individual therapy for your child or adolescent with family therapy consultations, your child or adolescent will become more intune with themselves. They’ll learn the skills to emotionally regulate, the language to express themselves in a healthy way, and the courage to open themselves to life’s greatest joys.
Therapy can be fun! Through exploration with the use of music, art, role-playing, and games your child or adolescent will begin to improve upon their relationships. They will begin to heal from their past and gain strength for their future.
Safety in a therapist.
Children and teens tend to be highly influenced by loved ones. They see their parents as heroes, their friends as keepers of their reputations, but might see themselves as the lowest person on the totem pole.
By working with a therapist, your child or teen can feel safe to explore themselves and how they fit into the world without fear of judgment or feeling like they need to prove something. They can find themselves, express themselves, and learn to love themselves.
Common Child or Adolescent Therapy Topics
- Behavioral Issues
- Talking Back
- Rule Breaking
- Low grades in school
- High stress
- Parent with a mental or medical illness
- Loss of a parent
- Preparing for college
- Transitioning schools
- Choosing a high school
Help is just a phone call away. We can help you decide which type of therapy is right for you. With multiple therapists on staff that have specialized training in working with children and adolescents with specified treatment modalities, we are confident that we can serve you in the best way possible!
What is Child, Adolescent, or Teen Therapy & Counseling?
Child & Adolescence therapy, or counseling for kids, is designed to help children and teens with their challenges. These challenges include mental illnesses, traumatic events, the loss of family members, difficult feelings and behaviors.
Child counselors and child therapists are trained to work with children and understand how a child’s mind works. This helps them to break down the child’s problems in a way they can understand. There is not an age limit for which children can and can’t receive counseling or therapy.
No matter the child’s age, the goal of child therapy is to help them get back on a mentally healthy route. If children do not receive the mental treatment that they need, they may experience unsavory developmental, mental, and emotional effects later in life.
Online Child, Teen, Adolescence Therapy & Counseling
Online Child, Teen, Adolescence Therapy & Counseling, or Telehealth, can be helpful for a range of reasons. For instance, life gets busy, and it’s not always easy to make it into an office setting. Having a session from the convenience of your office or home may be best for you.
Or you experience elevated levels of anxiety or depression to where it is difficult for you to be in person with others. Having an appointment from the comforts of your own home may afford you the space to be vulnerable in other ways while you’re working toward growth.
Either way, we’re here to help you work in a way that feels right to you. Be sure to discuss with our intake specialist your options for telephone or video chat therapy! We work on a HIPAA-compliant platform that is free to you so that your confidentiality is guaranteed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ADHD Children
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) helps identify cognitive distortions to change emotional and behavioral responses to daily situations. For example, children with ADHD may feel different from others, which can influence their self-esteem. CBT can be used to better your child’s self-esteem, which can help them succeed in many areas of their life. CBT can also help your child organize their thoughts and separate complex tasks into manageable parts.
Our team at The Better You Institute can help your child change their dysfunctional thoughts to think in a more realistic, rational way. For example, if your child makes a mistake in school, they may conclude that they are not good enough. The statement “I’m not good enough” can be changed to “Sometimes I make mistakes, but that’s okay. Mistakes are part of the learning process”. This type of self-talk encourages the child to continue to try and persevere even when they make mistakes. The clinician can also help the child recognize times where they succeeded and did not make any mistakes.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for ADHD Children
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for children helps the child and the parents lean into the child’s needs through their values. ACT guides the therapist in helping the child and their family identify the child’s values and, therefore, what the child needs to keep the same or change. Through mindfulness, we can take better control of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. ACT combines mindfulness techniques with understanding our values to promote behavior changes that fit. ACT also entails total acceptance. When a child feels they are loved and supported just the way they are, they have the safety for risk-taking. Through guided exercises like metaphor and paradox use, experiential activities, you and your child will learn how to have a healthy relationship with thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations that may be feared, avoided, or punished currently. Learn how to recontextualize and accept your child’s inner experience to best understand the actions they present to you.
Child Trauma Therapy
Trauma of any type is challenging to work through, especially at a young age. Therefore, it is crucial to deal with and process traumatic experiences to move on from the trauma. Though trauma cannot be erased, trauma therapy allows children to process the experience.
One technique that we utilize is the SMART Approach, which stands for Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment. The SMART approach helps children learn how to regulate and repair their emotions through sensory exploration. This approach not only helps children by engaging the sensory, motor, limbic, and arousal systems for self-exploration, it can also help the caregiver connect and hold more space for the child’s trauma symptoms.
Child Abuse Therapy
No child should have to go through any type of abuse. Children are typically not able to rationalize abuse. The inability to understand and make sense of the abuse instills fear, mistrust, shame, guilt, unworthiness, helplessness, and so much more. Survivors of abuse often have an internal battle with themselves. The first step to child abuse therapy is to establish trust. Afterward, the clinician will identify troubling symptoms in the child due to the abuse they suffered and will try to help them deal with those symptoms. Then, the clinician will allow the child to communicate to them the abuse to be able to develop the skills to cope with the abuse.
Here at The Better You Institute, we practice Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Art Therapy to help children process their trauma. TF-CBT is a formulated treatment that helps children understand and process their traumas while having the support of their loved ones involved in their treatment. Art therapy helps children express themselves in various ways as sometimes they are not able to find the words to describe what they’re feeling and thinking. Art therapy helps them tap into a developmentally appropriate expression of Self.
Child Sexual Abuse Therapy
Experiencing sexual abuse as a child is especially difficult and can damage the child’s inner psyche and sense of Self. As with other forms of abuse, sexual abuse can be confusing and difficult to process. Sexual abuse tends to represent an extreme violation of boundaries. Sexual abuse therapy is somewhat similar to child abuse therapy because it involves similar steps. As with child abuse therapy, the first step of sexual abuse therapy consists in establishing trust for the child to feel safe. This type of therapy also focuses on reducing symptoms resulting from sexual abuse, such as difficulty sleeping or eating, bedwetting, age-inappropriate behaviors (e.g., a young child flirting with an adult, a child using sexualized verbiage, requests for touch that seem out of place). The symptoms will vary from child to child. Then, a clinician will help the child go through the experience of the abuse to face it in a safe environment. This can be done through traditional talk therapy or art therapy by allowing the child to draw it out or act it out. The treatment will also focus on age-appropriate boundaries and behaviors. The therapist will help to empower the child to a greater sense of Self. The therapy continues until the child has the resources to cope with the trauma. The end goal is to make sure the child’s symptoms have significantly diminished or completely went away, and that the child feels safe and trusting in the world they exist within.
Ecosystemic Structural Family Therapy (ESFT)
Ecosystemic Structural Family Therapy, or ESFT, is a relational, evidence-based model that is an “umbrella” model used to heighten other therapeutic models used to treat families. Not only is it good for families, but it is also appropriate to use with individuals and couples to understand intergenerational patterns of behaviors that have, and continue to, affect people and their relationships.
The basic layout of the model divides it into 4 Pillars and 4 Stages to work through. The four stages are Emotion (co)Regulation; Attachment; Co-caregiver Alliance; and Executive Functioning. Using this “umbrella” model is important to understand how tragedy, trauma, and hardship have directly affected a person and how those traumas affect a person’s relationships. This can lead to a greater understanding of oneself across multiple relationships and settings throughout a person’s life.
Through the ESFT model, other therapeutic models can help people process anxiety, depression, traumas, relationship conflicts, or just feeling “stuck” in life. I enjoy using Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Therapy to help people move to a place of self-understanding before transitioning to practicing making changes in their lives.
Child of Divorce Therapy
No matter the circumstances for divorce, children experiencing their parent’s divorce can have a hard time processing their thoughts and feelings. Divorce for everyone can be a difficult life transition. However, children who do not have the capacity just yet to process such intense thoughts and feelings may use their actions to speak for them. They start to yell more, they shut down in school, they become angry and use their fists. Or, children may use their words indirectly, such as “I hate you” or “You’re not the boss of me!” Children may have concerns about when they will see each parent, whether they are the cause of the divorce, or if there’s anything they can do to make it stop.
Our therapists can help your child find healthy ways to express their big emotions. The therapist will be an outside support for your child to lean on in times of uncertainty. As a parent, you may need co-parenting techniques that will work for your child. We can provide family sessions or co-parenting sessions to help get through this difficult time.
Child Art Therapy
Children, especially at younger ages, tend to have a tougher time verbalizing and understanding their emotions. To overcome these communication thresholds within therapy, art therapy allows children to communicate through various forms of art by using music, painting, body movement, etc. Art therapy also allows children to freely express themselves while the therapist is there to help them make sense of it in a way that will develop overall well-being. Art therapy may seem like your child is “just playing,” however research shows that free play for children is a wonderful learning tool. Children learn what they like and don’t like, they can tap into their creativity and critical thinking skills, and they experience self-expression. By learning and experiencing new things in art therapy, the therapist can help to translate this into real-world experiences, thus helping your child connect their inner world through art and play to their outer life.
Child Anger Management Therapy
Healthy and appropriate expression of thoughts and emotions can be difficult for some children. Developmentally, children need to learn how to do this with the guidance of adults. Anger is one of the six basic human emotions. As such, children will express deeper emotions like helplessness, unworthiness, disgust, or exhaustion as anger. Anger management therapy can help children identify what triggers their anger, how to identify their anger early on, and how to relax in order to decrease their anger. Through anger management therapy for children, they will develop the ability to process and express their deeper emotions before they turn to anger.
Child Therapy Interventions
All of the above interventions allow children to process and rationalize their thoughts and feelings. Children have not had as much experience with managing their emotions and their brains are not fully developed, which is why it is important for children to go to therapy when they experience difficulties in their life.
Teen Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT can be extremely helpful for teens who are struggling with their mental health. Learning to combat negative thoughts that may naturally exist within us at a young age can help carry on healthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors into later life. Adolescence is a time of immense change. Teenagers are going through major hormonal changes that can have a great impact on how we feel, think, and interpret the world around us. Many teens experience depression and anxiety due to nothing but their hormone changes. Our brains are hardwired to remember negative things (e.g., it was imperative that we remembered which berries were poisonous and which animals were dangerous to our livelihood). If teens are left to their own devices with these negative thoughts and feelings, they can become embedded as truths. Teens begin to think they are unworthy, unloveable, stupid, or not good enough. It’s imperative that teens receive interventions with these negative thoughts and feelings to help them make sense of the world and feel more confident and hold themselves in the highest esteem! With the aid of a clinician at The Better You Institute who uses CBT, teens can learn not to feed into these negative thoughts, that they can be fleeting. They can learn how to process the negative emotions so that they don’t become drivers of their lives. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you identify your catastrophic thoughts and/or feelings that are making you behave in certain unhelpful ways and ways to challenge these thoughts to come out in charge of your own well-being.
Teen Depression Therapy
Depression is common in teenagers because they are often experiencing high amounts of stress due to more stressors than they experienced in their earlier stages of life while going through hormonal and body changes. Although extra responsibilities are developmentally helpful to teens. Some of these responsibilities may feel overwhelming or may be inappropriate. For example, a teen who is at the top of their class and is promised scholarships may feel pressure to perform and continue to do their best. While some pressure is good, some pressure can have crippling effects and spiral a teen who doesn’t necessarily have the tools to handle the pressure into depression. Another example would be a teen who is asked to look after their siblings or cousins. While the occasional responsibility of looking after someone who is younger than them can help them develop certain life skills, the constant responsibility can be too developmentally advanced for the teen. They experience what family therapists call “parentification” where they have to act older than they truly are and they lose out on learned experiences that happen while acting their age. Moreover, teens these days are dealing with extreme social pressures from social media and friends.
Talk therapy gives teens space to just be. Through self-expression, teens can find themselves. They will learn to find ways to cope with the stressors they face that may be causing/affecting their depression. Although parents can be a great support to their teens, sometimes having an outsider who isn’t entangled emotionally the same way parents and teens are can be helpful. Our therapists know how to relate and help teens, let us help you!
Teen Pregnancy Counseling
Pregnancy comes with a whole bag of emotions. There is excitement, fear, anger, intense love, and so much more! For some women, pregnancy is a difficult transition in one’s life and can be difficult to navigate. This difficulty is especially true for a teenager who may not have certain resources (mentally, financially, emotionally, and family/friend supports). Also, the change in the individual’s hormones can be difficult to deal with.
Teen pregnancy brings on the need for many decisions. There may be different expectations from parents or caregivers about what the teenager should do about their pregnancy. Talk therapy can give space for decision-making and the processing of feelings. The Better You Institute provides individual and family counseling to help with this major life adjustment. We have resources for teens to safely make decisions for what’s best for them.
Teen Drug Counseling
The war on drugs has been going on for years. Unfortunately, drug usage is becoming increasingly common among teenagers. Philadelphia’s drug epidemic is very real and very scary. Through a variety of different avenues, teens have access to substances that can majorly alter their brain development and behaviors. Teen drug use can be very scary for the family but so difficult for the teen as they may be addicted.
The Better You Institute takes a supportive role in helping teens decrease their drug usage and understand what role it plays in their life. Through understanding, we can relate to your teenager and help to empower them to want a different life for themselves. We are connected to psychiatrists that can help them ween off drugs safely. Teen drug use can be terrifying and leaves those involved feeling helpless. Let us help you find the direction and guide you to getting back on track with yourself and your relationships and say goodbye to drugs.
Parent-Child & Teen Interaction Therapy (PCIT) or Family Therapy
PCIT allows parents and their child/teen to form a stronger connection in order to improve parenting and reduce the child’s behavioral issues. By examining the dynamic between the parent and child, the clinician can figure out where there are issues within the relationship and what can be done to improve the relationship between the child and their parent. The clinician will guide the family through a restructuring of their family system to produce better outcomes and closer connections.
Signs Your Child or Teen Needs Therapy & Counseling
- Extreme changes in appetite and sleeping patterns
- Large appetite or very small appetite
- Too much or too little sleep
- Isolation from those they care about
- Expressing emotions (anger, sadness, emptiness, helplessness, hopelessness, fear, etc.) through unhealthy behaviors, such as shutting down, yelling, saying they hate you, not completing homework assignments, skipping school, using drugs, becoming overly sexual, running away, being mean to friends/family, stealing, not bathing/showering, etc.
- Expressing thoughts of self-harm or death