What is Behavioral Health Psychotherapy for Kids?


What is Child Therapy?

Child Therapy (psychotherapy) refers to the process of developing a therapeutic relationship that is highly focused on the social, emotional, and developmental health, and wellbeing of the child. Child therapy is facilitated by clinical child therapists.

Child therapists are trained professionals with specific training in child development, play therapy, behavioral therapies, and scientifically validated clinical interventions and considerations. Child therapists have a minimum of a Master’s degree from an accredited university, have completed post-graduate hours, internships, and other relevant experience. Child therapists at UniHealth are registered with the State of California, and receive monitored clinical supervision on an ongoing basis.

Why Play?

As young children develop, their verbal abilities to communicate thoughts, feelings, and other material specific to their internal experience, are skills and capacities that are still emerging, skills that they are still learning. The universal language of children is play. It is through play that we communicate with children to help them

1) process challenging material,

2) challenge negative thinking,

3) develop and build internal strength-based narratives,

4) capitalize on play interests to boost confidence, and

5) promote adaptive behaviors and ways of relating.

Unlike adults, who are able to verbalize feelings following specific experiences, children because of their developmental age, may not be able to easily verbalize such emotions. As a result, they require a child-appropriate approach to support them in gaining relief following challenging life experiences that may have evoked complicated emotions and feelings in their young lives.

Child therapy is largely non-verbal and may involve activities used to facilitate emotional enrichment, relief, and improved social-emotional capacities. These activities may sometimes include, arts, crafts, games, painting, coloring, home assignments, play, walk-and-talks, and mindfulness-based activities. These are used to further support and maximize emotional, behavioral, and social health. To learn more, we highly encourage you to speak with your clinical provider. Parent participation is key, please don’t hesitate to set-up a parent consultation schedule with your clinical provider for you to learn how to support your child at home, and in other settings as they continue to age.


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