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Child Counsellors – What They Do and How They Can Help

by Andrew Muir
NDIS Provider Melbourne

The main role of a counsellor is to provide people with a safe space to share their feelings, without any judgement or ulterior motives. Counselling can help people in many ways, allowing them to better manage their emotions, improve their self-worth and work through any personal issues they may be struggling with.

Child counsellors specialise in offering children and teenagers adult guidance designed to help the children navigate intense periods of development and change. Growing up can have its fair share of challenges and children often aren’t yet equipped with the tools to successfully deal with these obstacles.

Child counsellors can offer some much-needed love and nurture to these kids and a place for them to share information they don’t feel comfortable communicating with their parents. Many counsellors are also NDIS providers, so be on the lookout for counsellors that offer this as part of their services.

In this article, we’ll go through the different challenges that child counsellors can help their patients navigate, and when it might be an appropriate time to suggest counselling for a child.

Counseling vs. psychology

Before we get into the specifics of what child counsellors can offer, it’s important that we explain the difference between counselling and psychology. While both are trained professionals who specialise in non-evasive health practices, there are some core differences between the two.

Counsellors generally focus on helping their patients achieve an overall feeling of wellness on a day-to-day basis, and tend to use “talk therapy”. Psychologists tend to take a more scientific approach and are often focused on treating specific disorders and mental illnesses, and may conduct regular psychological testing on their patients.

While both counselling and psychology have a wide array of benefits for their patients, it’s important that you know what you’re in for and what to expect from your chosen specialist.

Parents separating

When two parents decide to separate, one of their primary concerns is usually how it will impact their child. How it ends up impacting the children will ultimately depend on their personality and age, but it wouldn’t be uncommon for them to experience depression, anxiety, confusion, fear or anger.

If a child is taking the separation especially hard, working with a counsellor can help them to cope with this drastic change and come to terms with what it means for them. A breakup can be tough for any adult and can inflict a significant amount of stress and heartache.

For this reason, they may not be able to provide their child with the attention and guidance that they normally would due to the turmoil they’re going through. Counsellors can provide children with the emotional guidance and unbiased support that they need during this time.

Bullying

Kids can be cruel, and many of us will remember experiencing bullying when we were young. Bullying can severely affect kids mental health, lower their self-esteem and even cause disturbing thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

If a child is being bullied, counselling can help provide them with ways of dealing with conflicts such as assertive communication and setting boundaries. It can also help them to work through the feelings of shame, anxiety and isolation that bullying can cause by giving them the confidence to speak up and face the problem head-on.

Friendship issues

Friendships can be complicated at all stages of life, childhood included. Whether it’s having problems making friends and connecting with their peers or maintaining the friendships they’ve already established, many kids struggle with these relationships at a young age.

Counselling can help kids to develop their social skills and confidence, improving their communication techniques and their ability to both make new friends and build and improve their current relationships.

Behavioural problems

It can be very troubling when kids are displaying behavioural problems and it can impact their ability to excel academically and develop meaningful friendships. While of course, no child is an angel 100% of the time, severe behavioural problems can be a sign of a more significant issue underneath.

Providing your child with a safe space to express themselves emotionally may help them get to the root of what’s causing these behaviours and then an appropriate course of action can be taken.

Grief and loss

Dealing with the loss of a loved one or grief of any type can be extremely debilitating to children and adults alike. As adults, most of us have the emotional maturity and skills to deal with these traumatic situations, but most children are not as lucky.

Providing children with the support of a counsellor to help them express their emotions and discover both hope and healing. It can be hard to provide the right kind of emotional support when you are struggling, and this is where counsellors can step in and help improve wellbeing and kickstart the process of working through grief.

Counselling can be an extremely powerful tool in helping children develop the tools to cope with growing up and help them find their place within their family, friendship circles and community as a whole. If you’re interested in pursuing this further, do some research and you’ll be sure to find some great local counsellors in your area.

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