While the concept of therapy and counseling is becoming more mainstream in recent years, there is still a negative stigma surrounding it. This is why as a parent, contemplating the idea that your child may need therapy can feel overwhelming. These decisions aren’t easy, especially when you need to make them for your child. But do the benefits of the skills learned outweigh the negative stigma? Should you actually take your kids out of school to go to therapy?
Before We Jump In
In reality, only adults have placed this negative connotation on the concept of therapy. Unless you and/or your household has spoken negatively about it (and talk about that viewpoint often) your child won’t register that going to therapy is seen as “bad” or “weak”. And more often than not, most kids like that they get to talk to an adult in private without the fear of “getting in trouble”.
Something else we want to clarify is that most therapy patients aren’t there to work out a serious mental illness. Most of the time, patients are there to learn how to cope with difficult life transitions and intense stress. Patients go to therapy to discuss their career, financial challenges, relationship or health issues, how to deal with grief, etc. – and that’s just to name a few different reasons! Therapy is simply meant as a safe space to help you develop emotional, mental, and physical tools to help cope with life.
The Pros of Taking Your Kids Out of School to Go to Therapy
- Counseling can help your kid(s) deal with both the excitement and disappointments in life.
- Therapy allows your kid(s) the knowledge that help is available when they are struggling.
- Kids learn how to communicate more effectively.
- They learn healthy means of expression and coping.
- They also learn about vulnerability and how to talk about what’s really going on, rather than shoving their emotions down and ignoring them until they bubble over.
- That they may miss school, certain lessons, and certain assignments – but you can arrange to have those lessons made up with a tutor or office hours. If teachers are made aware of the absence in advance, you may also arrange to have them learn the material and hand in assignments before said class.
- You as the parent will need to figure out how to get your kid to and from the therapist – meaning you may need to adjust your schedule or have a conversation with your boss.
- Depending on your child, their symptoms may get worse before they get better, as their issues are being identified and addressed, most likely, for the first time.
Does Your Child Need Therapy?
We challenge you to take some time this week to really observe your kids. Perk your emotional antennas up and keep a lookout for unusual behaviors such as:
- Changes in eating (a lot more or less than usual)
- Changes in sleep (also a lot more or less than usual)
- Unusual disruptive behavior (shouting out, fighting, slamming objects or breaking things, etc.)
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Social isolation
- Excessive moodiness, especially anger
- A big life transition or traumatic event
- A drop in grades or avoidance of school
- Any verbal or written language referencing harm to themselves or others
Please note, this list is not extensive, but rather a set of examples of things to look for.
Child Therapy with CPA
Therapy can help your kids with positive skills. These include emotional intelligence, healthy outlets to channel their emotions, increased self-esteem, relationship building, and problem building skills! Cristina Panaccione and Associates has one location in the South Hills and one office in Robinson Township. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help your child learn the skills to cope with whatever emotion they may be feeling!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.
Amanda Zeiders – LCSW
I am a 16 years and going strong transplant from Western New York. And I fell in love with the bridges, the people, and the communities of Pittsburgh. I veered off of the teaching track to follow my heart into the adventures of Social Work. And soon, transferred into the BASW (Bachelor of art in social work) program at the University of Pittsburgh. I found myself drawn to the community organizing part of the field. And I spent my internship with The Thomas Merton Center (TMC), a local peace and social justice organization.
While there, I was able to gain hands-on experience reaching out to and collaborating with real people throughout Allegheny County. After graduating in 2005, I continued community organizing. I also embarked on a 2-year journey working in homes with children on the Autism Spectrum and their families. I gained significant clinical and cultural knowledge which has contributed to my desire and capacity to support my clients through a collaborative social work process. This lead me back to academia, where I earned my Masters in Social Work (MSW) in 2008. I specialize in direct practice.
After almost 12 years as an MSW and now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I can say that my favorite part of day to day practice is putting in the hard work to earn people’s trust, watching them grow, and walking beside them as a collaborator through it all: the good- the bad- the ugly and the beautiful. I don’t believe that people are “broken” or “need to be fixed”. I believe we are all human, and generally, being kinder and gentler towards ourselves goes a long way to building the foundation for change to occur.