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Child and Adolescent Therapy

As children and adolescents grow, they continue to develop in so many very important ways. There are predictable ranges of cognitive, emotional, and social growth according to the age of a child and kids will experience shifts in their thinking, mood and behavioral patterns as they mature.

During these periods of growth, it can be difficult for families to know when a change reflects the normal challenges in child development or, rather, signs and symptoms of something that more significantly interferes with their child/teen’s happiness and functioning within the family, at school or with social connections. If a parent, family member, or a child/teen is questioning whether the problems they are facing fit within the range of normal development, they might seek consultation with a mental health practitioner who has specialized training and experience in working with families and pediatric populations.

Therapy and counseling services include initial assessments by qualified mental health professionals that can help define if there are problems that need attention and what type of services might be of assistance. The assessment is a getting-to-know each other period and a time when information is gathered about the child’s current problem or concern. Parents and caregivers are generally involved with this step of the process. A history of the problem is reviewed along with other information about the child/teen’s level of development. Parent and child/teen questions are also discussed at that time.

Following the initial assessment, the mental health professional discusses the interventions that are most likely to be a good fit toward addressing the areas of concern. Counseling for children or teens allows families and kids to learn more about themselves, their strengths and their paths toward problem-solving about the obstacles in their lives. Therapy refers to a variety of methods that specially trained clinicians use to help children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties with their emotions or behavior. Although several therapeutic methods exist in order to provide options about how to work with different types of problems, all psychotherapy involves communication and support toward health and development.

The goals of therapy will depend on the particular area being addressed. They will be addressed at the beginning and throughout the process. Therapy might be focused on emotional support during a difficult event or transition, resolution of conflicts with others, learning more about coping with feelings and upsets, building on strengths in order to solve problems, and/or experimenting with new ways to address old problems or patterns. The length of therapy depends on the complexity and severity of the problem.

Psychotherapy may involve an individual child, a group of children, a family, or multiple families. It may also involve the counselor communicating with the school system and/or medical providers for a comprehensive approach to helping the child and family.  A variety of methods are used with children and teens including playing games that teach coping concepts, drawing, building, writing, pretending, doing creative experiments in order to practice a skill; as well as talking in order to support the path of sharing feelings and resolving problems. Our clinicians are also trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), and other approaches that help (Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Family Systems Therapy). The therapy environment promotes and supports a level of trust that can make it easier for children and teens to express themselves and to become willing to utilize therapy as a helpful tool.

At Knoxville Counseling Services, our child and adolescent therapists specialize in working with children and teens who are struggling with :

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Life Transitions (e.g., parent's divorce, adjusting to step-parents and blended families)
  • Grief and Loss
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Impulse Control and Emotional Regulation
  • Eating Disorders
  • Social Skills and Peer Relationships
  • Self-Image / Self-Esteem
  • Self-Harm Behavior
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Developmental Delays
  • Disabilities
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Attention and Concentration Issues
  • Behavioral Problems (e.g., excessive anger, acting out, opposition at school or home)

And more! Contact us today to find out if we have a provider who fits your needs.