Child Psychologists and Therapists in Madison, WI
Very young children can benefit greatly from therapy. As soon as they can talk, they can derive positive results from a relationship with a benign, neutral adult. Between ages 3-11, play therapy provides a vehicle for children to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided, self-healing process. As children’s experiences and knowledge are often communicated through play, it becomes an important vehicle for them to know and accept themselves and others. A therapist can help them develop effective ways of expressing themselves, can clear up misunderstandings, help address irrational fears, and provide validation and support. If a young child has a positive experience in therapy, it can be protective against that child developing the self-esteem issues that are so common in middle school.
The “tweens,” usually between ages 9-13, depending on the maturity of the child in question, are often great talkers, and may not need to use play as a mode of expression. Here therapy can take a more traditional form, as the child shares his or her concerns and thoughts, and the therapist supports him or her in growth, problem solving, relationship skills, and coping with stress. Again, a good therapy experience during this time in life can be protective, and will make it more likely that this child will seek therapy during difficult times in life.
Whether very young or tween, the family is also part of therapy, and a child psychologist or therapist works to integrate the gains of the child in treatment into the larger system of the family, looking for support and embracing positive change. Madison has many resources for children that can serve as auxiliary support when more extensive services are needed.