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My Child Doesn’t Talk in Therapy. Are They Getting Anything Out of It?

Making the decision to bring your child to see a child psychologist in Littleton is an important one, and one you have probably considered carefully. After all, you wonder about your child’s future mental health, your parenting strengths, and the costs of those sessions. So if you observe that your child does not talk, or if your child reports “we don’t really talk at therapy,” should you be worried? Is it a waste of time, or is your child getting something out of those sessions? Keep reading for insight into the process of therapy and counseling with kids and teens.

Play Therapy for Pre-School Kids

If your child is very young, such as those in preschool or kindergarten, you may be working with a play therapist in Highlands Ranch, or at least a child psychologist well-versed in play-based therapy. Unlike adult talk therapy, play therapy is all about experience—just like your little one learns! Because children at this age have a limited vocabulary, your child psychologist will work to understand her needs in different ways, such as her actions, facial expressions, and reactions. Every action is communication—words are not always necessary. By celebrating successes, guiding expression, and providing new and different opportunities to approach and solve problems, your child is learning without talking very much.

Therapy for Elementary School Children

This is the age where kids often tell their parents (quite proudly) “we didn’t talk at all today!” That’s because children this age often lack insight into the deeper meanings of things, and may not see the connection between role-playing, pretend play, and other tools used by child psychologists to create behavior change. For a child who is being bullied, talking about it can feel like torture. However, playing a game where all the soldiers in the castle pick on the littlest soldier, only to have that soldier save the day later, can boost confidence and remind the client of his strengths—without all that “talking.” Children will often express their needs through play, such as repeatedly being drawn to toys representing past traumas, current hurdles, or specific emotions.

Talk Therapy For Teenagers

By the time your child is in middle or high school, they’ve probably moved past the toys and games and are ready for what looks like “adult” therapy. But parents can be frustrated to find out that their child spends the session talking about their favorite TV show, the fun they had with their friends, or seemingly “random stuff.” Once again—every action is communication. Exploring the role of feelings and relationships through fantasy (like TV shows or video games) is the big-kid version of playing with toys. It allows the child to explore those things without the real consequences, or to imagine life at its extremes.

When you bring your child or teenager for therapy in Littleton, don’t fixate on “how much” or even “if” they talk. Your child or adolescent psychologist is adept at interpreting communications of all kinds, and changing behavior through interactions. Call today to start seeing change.