Children do not have the same level of control, cognition and capability as adults. Therefore, parents are part of the treatment team and are seen concurrently with their children. Children and parents have separate but equally important agenda.
Children are helped via cognitive-behavior techniques to examine their thoughts and feelings and gain insight into their actions. They develop the ability to problem-solve, make healthier choices, and thereby experience more beneficial consequences to their actions.
Parents, through empathic and sensitive collaboration with the psychologist, are shown how they can help their children on a day-to-day basis. They learn the skills that enable them to motivate their children and foster healthy self-esteem.
The child’s school performance is monitored throughout the treatment process. Teachers are mentored as they adopt new strategies that highlight a child’s strengths and lead to improved learning ability.
Teenagers are at a different developmental stage than children and, thereby, necessitate age-appropriate therapy techniques. The psychologist gives adolescent clients a safe venue to explore their feelings without judgment or pressure. Its effectiveness depends on a confidential, trusting relationship between the psychologist and adolescent client.
CBT for teenagers focuses on their maladaptive thoughts and expression of feelngs. Adolescent clients learn to separate life-affirming, healthy thoughts and actions from life-negating, destructive ones. They begin to set goals and develop a sense of responsibility for themselves.
Parents of adolescent clients have a different function in therapy than when their children were younger. At this stage parents have significantly less control over their teenagers’ actions and, therefore, need to play an influential rather than authoritative role. The psychologist works with parents, through concomitant parent counselling, to help them develop new communication skills and an improved relationship with their teens. Parents find that they can respect their children’s boundaries while keeping a watchful eye on the children’s well-being.
Adult psychotherapy, like that of children and adolescents, relies on research-based techniques. Needless to say, the effectiveness of all therapeutic treatment is based on an empathic, supportive relationship with the psychologist.
Therapy based on client strengths builds on their innate capabilities to effect positive change, rather than concentrate solely on their maladaptive actions and thoughts. It changes the perspective of clients who enter therapy believing that their negative character traits prevent them from moving ahead. Therapy based on strengths works especially well when it is used in conjunction with CBT.
Along with these psychotherapeutic techniques, the psychologist recommends relevant books and articles (known as “bibliotherapy”). Bibliotherapy allows the client to explore material autonomously and bring greater depth of understanding to the therapy sessions.