Child Psychologist

When to Enlist the Help of a Child Psychologist

Child Psychologist in South Orange County

It is often said that children are very resilient, that they often bounce back from adversities that occur in their young lives.  While this may be true for the majority of kids, some young people simply cannot wind through a disruption, struggle, or loss without professional help.  This is when it is important to seek the help of a professional child psychologist.

The child psychologist is trained to identify the sources of the behavioral or emotional upheaval that have not resolved after a period of weeks or months, and then apply various interventional strategies and therapeutic techniques to help them heal.  The need for enlisting the help of the child psychologist is indicated when the child or adolescents daily functioning is disrupted, the child has become a danger to themselves or others, or the problems interfere with normal family functioning.

Signs that a Child Psychologist is Needed

Disruptions in the life of a child or adolescent can include such events as a divorce, serious illness or death of a parent or sibling, a move, trauma, or bullying at school, for example.  Giving the young person time to cycle through the emotional impact of the event in a supportive environment usually leads to resolution.  However, when symptoms of distress do not resolve in a reasonable period of time, it is prudent to seek the support of a professional child psychologist.  These signs would include:

  • Symptoms of depression or anxiety.  When a mood disorder develops the child will exhibit symptoms of sadness and despair, fatigue, irritability, irrational fears, and mood swings.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3 million teens experience a major depressive episode in the last year.
  • Sleeping or eating habits change.  Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, night terrors, nightmares, or over sleeping are signs of emotional distress.  Also concerning is a sudden increase or decrease in appetite that persists for at least a week.
  • Self-destructive behaviors.  Self harm can take the form of cutting (purposeful cutting of their skin), substance abuse, or attempts to hurt themselves in any way is a sign of emotional distress.
  • Troubles at school.  Behavioral and emotional struggles often are acted out in the school setting.  Decline of academic performance, ditching school, fights with schoolmates, being bullied, loner behavior, etc. can all point to emotional distress.
  • Isolating behaviors.  The young person is suddenly not interested in engaging in social activities, family events and activities, or seeing friends.

How a Child Psychologist can Help

Someone trained to work with kids and teens in emotional distress has the knowledge and tools to help usher them through a difficult life event and toward healthy functioning once again.  Child psychologists often use art therapy as a tool to interpret the life situations that have triggered the disordered behaviors or mood changes.  With teens, the art of listening, and asking strategic open-ended questions, can reveal causal factors as well.  As a clear picture emerges regarding the source of the pain, the therapist can devise an appropriate treatment intervention plan.

Parents will play an important role in the therapy process as well.  Some of the sessions may include the parents, helping the psychologist to identify potentially dysfunctional communication or behavioral issues within the family.  Parents are closely consulted as therapy continues, and are seen as partners in the therapeutic process.

Phaite Behavioral Offers Effective and Compassionate Counseling for Adolescents

Phaite Behavioral Healthcare Services provides comprehensive therapeutic help for teens in need of counseling and support in South Orange County, California.  The Phaite Behavioral clinical team uses only evidence-based treatment modalities, and all clinicians are professionals of masters or doctoral level.  For more information about the compassionate care provided for adolescents in distress, please contact Phaite Behavioral today at (888) 259-1268.