Psychological services for children and adolescents
Children and adolescents may need help with a wide range of issues at different points in their lives. Parents may also need help and advice to deal with behavioural or other problems their child is experiencing.
Mental health problems in young people can lead to tragic consequences, including suicide, substance abuse, inability to live independently, involvement with the correctional system, failure to complete high school, lack of vocational success, and health problems.
We offer mental health services and support for children and young people who have difficulties with their emotional or behavioral wellbeing. We adapt a comprehensive mental health care approach for children and adolescents where appropriate treatments are used.
Child psychology section
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Depression refers to a group of symptoms and behaviors clustered around three core alterations in experience: changes in mood, in thinking and in activity, sufficient to cause impairment in personal and/or social functioning. Mood changes typically include sadness and/or irritability accompanied by a loss of pleasure, even in cherished interests.
In Children and adolescents the presenting features may be behavioral consequences of their internal mental state. Self-harm, disinterest in general appearance, withdrawal and loss of interest may all reflect an emerging or current depressive disorder. This is increasingly likely if these behavioral features cluster together in time.
Other more non-specific behaviors that should evoke concern for an abnormality in mental state include promiscuity, sudden unexplained and persistent levels of irritability and aggression and deterioration in schoolwork for no apparent reason. The latter set of behavioral changes is not indicative of a depressive disorder but should encourage those working with children to consider this possibility.
There is evidence for cognitive behaviour therapy and family therapy in the treatment of depression in adolescents and children. LifeWorks Holistic Counselling centers offers CBT for children and adolescents going through depression.
Anxiety is useful in certain situations, some of the time. But, children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, shyness, and avoidance of places and activities that persist despite the helpful efforts of parents, caretakers, and teachers. Children who experience a specific list of anxious symptoms, more frequently and intensely than peers, are more likely to also experience significant disruption in their lives. This disruption can interrupt or even stop him or her from participating in a variety of typical childhood experiences such as: attending school, joining social, athletic or recreational clubs, meeting age expected demands such as sleeping through the night, doing homework, and making friends.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Children and teens with this disorder worry excessively and uncontrollably about daily life events. Their worries include fear of bad things happening in the future such as global warming or parents divorcing, being on time or making mistakes, a loved one becoming ill or dying, personal health, academic performance, world events, and natural disasters.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Children and teens with this disorder have obsessions, or unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that make them anxious or uncomfortable, and/or they engage in compulsions (repetitive physical or mental behaviors) in an attempt to reduce their anxiety or discomfort. Some compulsions may include repeated hand washing, checking, tapping, or mental routines (such as counting backwards from 100 and selecting “good” images to think about). An example of an obsession is “I might get sick and die from touching a bathroom door,” followed by the compulsion of washing hands for 5 minutes to reduce the anxiety and perceived likelihood of becoming sick.
Phobias are characterized by persistent, excessive and unreasonable fears of an object or situation, which significantly interferes with life, and the child or teen is unable to control his/her fear. Some common phobias for children and teens include fear of dogs and insects, swimming, heights, loud noises, and injections (needles).
Children and teens have an intense fear of social and/or performance situations because they worry about doing something embarrassing or being negatively judged by others. They may avoid social activities such as going to parties, performing in recitals, speaking to peersor adults, or even going to school.