Child and Adolescent Therapy at LiveWell Counseling: A Team Approach to Compassionate Care
- Category: Mental Health
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When we think about those with mental health issues, we often picture adults – not children. However, children and adolescents also struggle with mental health for a variety of reasons. According to the CDC, one in five children deal with a mental health disorder in any given year.
If believe your child or adolescent is dealing with a mental health issue or exhibiting difficult behaviors, treatment can help. At LiveWell Counseling, we provide children and adolescents with gentle and caring mental health treatment in a comforting setting where they feel safe and supported.
Mental Health Treatment for Children and Adolescents
When you make your initial appointment with LiveWell, a psychiatrist will conduct a thorough mental health evaluation to determine whether your child would benefit from further mental health treatment, such as medication to ease symptoms or one-on-one counseling with our highly trained and attentive therapists.
A mental health treatment plan for your child or adolescent may include:
- Talk therapy
- Group therapy
- Teaching coping skills for focusing, relieving anxiety, or channeling difficult emotions
- Medication management
- Referral to other resources if needed, such as centers specializing in play therapy or behavioral therapy
- Follow-up interviews between the psychiatrist and the child and their caregivers
- Collaboration between our therapists and psychiatrist, as well as the patient’s pediatrician, other medical specialists, or school guidance counselors
“We establish communication with anyone vital to their care,” said Lara E. Addesso, MD, Staff Psychiatrist at Christian Health’s LiveWell Counseling. “We try to provide the best support for the patient and their families.”
Common Mental Issues in Children and Adolescents
At LiveWell we provide treatment for children and adolescents for a wide range of issues, including:
- Defiant behaviors and emotional dysregulation
- Bipolar disorder
- School avoidance
It can often be difficult to assess whether certain behaviors your child or adolescent is displaying require attention or not. If their behavior is growing worse and/or persists for more than several weeks, interferes with schoolwork or their ability to function, or is reckless or unsafe, it’s important to seek the help of a mental health professional.
Children and adolescents may benefit from a mental health evaluation and treatment if they:
- Often talk about fears, anxieties, or worries
- Use negative self-talk, such as “It’s all my fault, ”I hate my life,” or “I’m the worst”
- Experience drastic changes in mood, behavior, or personality
- Become less social or self-isolate
- Talk about wanting to hurt others or themselves
- Have frequent tantrums or are irritable more often than not
- Have difficulty staying still, paying attention, or completing tasks
- Sleep excessively or too little
- Have frequent nightmares or night terrors
- Lose interest in playing or activities they once enjoyed
- Have trouble at school or experience a sharp decline in grades
- Refuse to go to school
- Become less energetic
- Become less communicative
- Exhibit violence in play or artwork
Differences When Treating Children and Adolescents
The approach to providing mental health treatment for children and adolescents is similar to that of adults in many ways, but there are many stark differences as well. The ability for a treatment provider to understand these nuances is crucial to offering effective and compassionate care.
“We have to do things a little more delicately with children and adolescents than adults,” said Dr. Addesso. “We have to establish rapport and build trust so they know we are here to help and not judge. They don’t always know how to effectively express or identity their emotions clearly and might use a different modality: their artwork or their actions, like tantrums. It’s important to make sure they feel comfortable when communicating with them.”
It’s also important to gather background information, such as a detailed developmental history to provide insight into what could be causing their mental health troubles or symptoms. Details from the patient’s family about how they behave at home or from their school regarding their behavior and symptoms there is vital as well.
“We try to get a whole picture, because the patient can’t always articulate, ‘I’m depressed Dr. Addesso,’” Dr. Addesso said.
When providing mental health services to children and adolescents, you are never just treating one individual. It’s also imperative to support their parents or guardians by helping them understand what their child is going through and how they can help them through their recovery.
“There are many differences when treating children and adolescents, but the goal is similar,” said Dr. Addesso. “We have to determine: ‘What’s happening now? Are there any safety concerns? What can we do to help you? What’s our goal in treatment?’”
The LiveWell Difference
At LiveWell Counseling, our team is made up of highly experienced professionals and therapists who are approachable, friendly, and caring. They are dedicated to giving your child the individual attention and focus required to effectively provide treatment, and diligently collaborate with one another, as well as the patients’ parents, to develop a personalized treatment plan.
“It’s a team approach,” said Dr. Addesso. “We have a team meeting once a month, and if something is going on with a patient that is concerning, we have a discussion to determine the next best step.”
The LiveWell team will also call and follow up with patients who stop coming to appointments and work hard to accommodate their needs and work with their schedules. This proactive approach, combined with effective collaboration and teamwork, kind and supportive care, are just a few of the ways LiveWell Counseling offers excellent, high-quality mental health treatment for patients of all ages.
“We are always trying to look out for the best interest for the child,” said Dr. Addesso. “The kids enjoy coming to the therapy and getting individual attention, a safe space, and the ability to voice what’s going on.”
Make an Appointment with LiveWell Counseling
If you think your child or adolescent might benefit from mental health treatment, we can help you. At our LiveWell Counseling center, located on our main campus in Bergen County, New Jersey, we will provide your child with a thorough mental health assessment and develop a personalized plan for treatment. To make an appointment, please call our Admissions office at (201) 848-5800.