side effects
Child Psychotherapy
Pros and Cons

Pros for this therapy

Individual psychotherapy with adolescents is similar to the therapy that adults engage in. Although they may be somewhat self-conscious at first, teens often come to enjoy therapy. It is a place where they can focus on themselves, on their experiences and relationships, on their problems with family or peers, and on their hopes, dreams and fears. In the psychotherapy session they have the full, respectful attention of an understanding adult.

With young children, the psychotherapist does not usually discuss problems. Problems are worked on in the context of play. Play, often called the work of the child, is far from conflict-free. To a trained eye, it is a powerful form of communication about the child’s ways of experiencing his or her world and a way of expressing difficulties the child may be experiencing. Play is also a form of healing. When a child "plays out" fears and difficult experiences in a context in which they can be understood, the child is able to move on. If parents are puzzled by a child’s description of fun in the therapist’s office, they should be aware that much more than play is taking place.

Cons for this therapy

Children entering psychotherapy have most often been exposed to family violence or other traumatic experiences. Treating traumatized children may be unusually challenging for the therapist because of vicarious traumatization. Access to reflective supervision is needed to prevent a sense of helplessness and a "self-protective tendency to view complex clinical cases as intractable."