How does a child psychotherapist solve children's problems?

Child psychotherapists look carefully at a child’s presenting symptoms. They spend time getting to know the child in attempt to understand why he or she is struggling mentally. They ask parents for information about the child’s life and difficulties.

Sometimes a psychiatric diagnosis is made and other times a psychological formulation is used. The management plan will depend on the symptoms, the child’s mental state, the family, the circumstances and the way in which that particular therapist works.

Finding the meaning in a child’s disturbing behaviour is central to helping to resolve and ease mental distress. Child psychotherapy involving the use of play is often the way psychologists address emotional distress and behavioural problems during childhood.

Parents should always be part of the process of their children’s psychotherapy. Sometimes the child’s problems can be resolved when the parents talk through the difficulties with a psychotherapist without actually involving the child. This is called parent therapy. Parents are helped to understand and address their children’s emotional difficulties.

Teenagers often experience extreme mood swings and mental turbulence. Adolescence is not always an easy process. It can also be very alarming and worrying for parents. Psychotherapy for teenagers that focusses on the presenting psychological symptoms and the underlying causes is the best way to address these difficulties.

It can be unhelpful sometimes to be given generalized advice about your children when the ‘expert’ doesn’t know or understand you, your circumstances and the specifics of your child’s life. For this reason, there are limits to how much guidance and help you can get from the internet. If you are experiencing problems with your child that you don’t fully understand or can’t manage, please contact Jenny Perkel at If she can’t see you herself, she can refer you to a suitable psychotherapist either in person or online.