6 Challenges Therapists Face When Dealing with Children’s Mental Health Problems
The state of mental health across the world is pretty grim right now. According to the United Nations, nearly a billion people across the world deal with some sort of mental health problem. Some of them are aware of their situation, but most are not.
Children’s Hope Chest finds that one in four people, at some point in their lives, will be affected by a mental illness. It may be difficult to swallow, but it is the truth. Globally, the state of mental health is only deteriorating,what’s even scarier is that children, too, are falling victim to mental health problems.
According to The Children’s Society, 1 in 6 children between the ages of 516 years are likely to have a mental health problem. It’s hard to predict what kind of mental illness they’ll have to deal with, but in most cases, children suffer from anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, depression,so on.
While many think that therapy can help these kids, they’re not aware of the challenges therapists face when dealing with children’s mental health problems, something we’ll shed light on in this article.
Table of Contents
Limited Communication Skills
One of the primary challenges therapists encounter when working with children is their limited communication skills. Unlike adults, children may struggle to articulate their emotions, thoughts, or experiences effectively.
Therapists must employ various age-appropriate techniques to establish trust, encourage self-expression,facilitate open communication. Play therapy, art therapy,storytelling are some effective methods that help children express their feelings when words fail them.
Establishing rapporttrust is crucial in any therapeutic relationship, but it becomes particularly challenging with children. Children may feel hesitant or intimidated when interacting with a therapist, especially if they have had negative experiences in the past.
Building trust requires patience, empathy,a non-judgmental attitude, which is why therapists must create a safenurturing environment for the children so that they’re comfortable opening upsharing their thoughtsconcerns.
Using EHR software for behavioral health practices is one-way therapists overcome the problem of kids not trusting them. They use such electronic health records to store patient dataother electronic medical records. That way, during each consecutive session, children don’t have to repeat things they’ve talked about in the previous sessions. The therapist can simply pull out their files from the EHR.
EHR software is also safemaintains compliance policies as needed, according to Accumedic Computer Systems. This makes these systemsplatforms not only secure but also a robust means of making sure that you can build trustrapport with the patients, which in this case are children.
Engaging parents can be challenging, as they may have their own emotional or communication difficulties. Therapists need to establish clear lines of communication, provide supporteducation,collaborate with parents to develop effective strategies for addressing their child’s mental health issues.
Involving parents actively can significantly enhance the overall outcome of the therapy. Parents can better explain some of the changes they’ve been noticing in their childrenwhat might have prompted those changes.
Adapting to Developmental Differences
Children of different agesdevelopmental stages require varying approaches to therapy. A therapist must be well-versed in child development to adapt their techniquesinterventions accordingly.
The challenges faced when working with a preschooler will differ from those encountered when treating an adolescent. Therapists must stay informed about age-appropriate interventions, tailor treatment plans to individual needs,remain flexible in their approach to meet the child’s developmental requirements.
Managing ResistanceEmotional Outbursts
Children experiencing mental health problems often exhibit resistance or emotional outbursts during therapy sessions. This could be due to fear, anxiety, or an inability to cope with overwhelming emotions.
Therapists must be skilled in de-escalating challenging situations, maintaining their composure,providing a supportive environment that encourages the child to express themselves freely. By employing patience, empathy,effective coping strategies, therapists can help children navigate difficult emotionsdevelop healthier coping mechanisms.
Access to mental health resources is a significant challenge in many communities,children may face additional barriers when seeking therapy. Therapists may encounter limited resources, long waitlists, or inadequate insurance coverage, making it difficult to provide timelycomprehensive care.
Therapists must advocate for improved mental health services, collaborate with other professionalsorganizations,explore alternative avenues such as teletherapy to ensure children receive the support they need.
Despite the challenges therapists face when dealing with children’s mental health problems, they never really give up on their patients. After all, mental illnesses are unlike regular health problems as they can’t be seen with the naked eye,children, especially, are more susceptible to the impact of mental health problems than adults.
Thus, therapists do whatever it takes to make sure that they can overcome these challengesprovide the mental health care children need.