How Do I Know If My Child Needs Therapy?

We often think of childhood as a time of carefree play and enjoyment. Whilst this is true for the most part, many children are also vulnerable to the same emotional and mental health issues that adults face. Research indicates that as many as one in five children and adolescents currently live with an identifiable mental disorder that requires some form of treatment.  
As with adults, psychological counselling can help with many of these issues. Conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are all examples of possible conditions that can occur during childhood.

What to look out for

A number of warning signs can occur that indicate that your child might be in need of therapy.
These include:
Persistent feelings of worry, stress and anxiety
Persistent feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
Sudden, unexplained poor performance at school 
Being unable to concentrate or make decisions
Being unable to sit still
Changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns 
Hearing voices/seeing things
Alcohol and/or drug use 
Engaging in violent behaviour such as vandalism or hurting animals 
If a child or adolescent shows some of these signs over a significant period of time, it is likely that he or she may be experiencing some psychological problems that they need help with. It is very important to spot the signs early, as prolonged exposure can result in the problem becoming significantly worse.

Other things to consider:

Some degree of acting out is normal
Remember, childhood can still be hard regardless of whether your child may have a problem or not. Meltdowns and outbursts are a normal part of child development and can also be considered a kind of rite of passage for most kids.
The severity of their behaviours
Often, it is when the behaviours listed above interfere with day to day routines on a regular basis that indicate a child might have a problem. For example, it is normal for children to try and avoid having to go to school. However, if they are having temper tantrums or emotional breakdowns every single day (making you late for work or unable to make them go) then this could be a sign of a more serious problem.
Anxiety and depression does not look the same in children as it does in adults
Some unexpected signs of anxiety in children include trouble focusing, violent tantrums and avoidance. These can be mistaken as not being typical of anxious behaviours, however it is important to remember that children are still developing and learning to understand themselves. Likewise, signs of depression can also be different. Irritability, outbursts and changes in sleeping and eating patterns are not uncommon for children with depression.
Search Topics
Related articles

More articles


Popularity of online therapy

Are you considering online therapy? The good news is that the Internet has opened up new avenues for mental health treatment online.  Remote online therapy is growing in popularity in the UK for various reasons, including reduced costs, improved comfort, and increased confidentiality for patients. Online counselling is easily accessible to all individuals who need […]


Find Me a Therapist

For therapy to be successful, it is essential that you find a counsellor you can openly communicate and who makes you feel safe. This is why finding the right therapist is paramount. The right therapist should be professional, experienced in treating the type of issues you are facing, welcoming and ready to listen to you. […]


Coping with a death in the family

The loss of a loved one is inevitable. Yet, it always takes us by surprise and brings a mixture of emotions.  Despite the fact we are all aware that the loss of a loved one is a natural part of our lives, there’s no easy way to accept it and cope with grief. Whether it’s […]


Learning about dyslexia

Making sense of feeling upside down, back to front & inside out     Many people do not realise that therapists and counsellors can provide much-needed help for those suffering from dyslexia.  If you have been diagnosed with dyslexia or think you may have symptoms of dyslexia, read on. How dyslexia affects you Very simply, […]