At this time, Aspire Counseling is primarily accepting clients age 12 and older. Our therapists do see a limited number of younger children when appropriate such as children who are questioning their gender identity, experiencing anxiety or going through a major life change (divorce, move, etc).
Does my child need counseling?
Every child has the potential to be successful and happy. If your child needs a helping hand to get there, counseling can help them on their journey. Examples of children who may benefit from Aspire Counseling services include:
- A child who’s behavior has changed or seems to be struggling to adjust after a major life change or trauma. This may include a divorce, a significant move, witnessing violence, a serious car accident or a house fire.
- A child who has experienced significant loss including the death of a family members.
- A child who is has anxiety that keeps them awake or keeps them from doing things.
- A child who is questioning their gender identity.
- A pre-teen who has extreme shifts in their emotions and has difficulty coping with big feelings. These youth may cry easily, yell at their parents, or otherwise show that they are overwhelmed.
- Any child or pre-teen who has mentioned suicide or wanting to die. While not common, kids as young as 8 or 9 have attempted suicide so these suicidal comments should always be discussed with a mental health professional.
What age children benefit from counseling services?
Every child is different and every family is different. Therefore, this is a difficult question to answer on a web page. At this time, our practice primarily sees children age 12 and older, but if you feel your younger child may benefit from our services, feel free to contact us using the form on this page or by calling 573-328-2288 to discuss the pros/cons of getting your child into see someone at Aspire Counseling. Aspire Therapy Counselors have seen children as young as 4 as well as older children with developmental delays. Our therapists meet your child where they are developmentally and emotionally and will tailor treatment to the needs of your family.
What will my child do in therapy?
Every child is unique and therefore your child’s therapist knows their treatment is unique. Your child therapist will tailor your the treatment plan to their situation and personality building on their individual strengths. You will be regularly updated about your child’s counseling and progress and may be included your child’s counseling sessions.
Kids are frequently invited to express themselves through painting, coloring, or other creative interventions during counseling sessions. Examples include painting a mask, mindfully coloring, using a puzzle to illustrate different parts of their lives or creating a “shield of skills.”
Your child’s therapist may invite them to use the sand tray. Kids often enjoy using sand trays and may express things in sand that are difficult to say out loud. We have a wide variety of sand tray miniatures for your child to use to explore their emotions.
Books & Games
Books and games are used to build rapport, encourage self expression and teach new skills in session. Our office has a variety of games (both homemade and store bought) for different ages and various issues. Sometimes a game is as simple as balancing a peacock feather on the end of your finger to practice Mindfulness or playing Simon Says to practice following directions.
Through learning to non judgmentally pay attention to the present moment young people gain control of their mind, emotions and life as a whole. We begin teaching Mindfulness to kids as young as 3 or 4. Jessica will be teaching clinicians around the state of Missouri the benefits of and techniques to teach kids mindfulness in the Spring 2018.
Play is a child’s language, so it is the primary language we speak in sessions with younger children. We often follow the child-centered play therapy model meaning that we see the child as the expert in their own needs and allow them to make a lot of choices in the therapy room. Our job as the therapist is to set them up for healing by carefully selecting the right play materials and fostering a caring, accepting therapeutic relationship. Creating a strong therapeutic relationship and a safe environment gives your child the freedom to explore their emotions and practice new skills through play.
Your child may just like to talk things through. In this case, we have specific techniques we’ve learned that will help your child see things in a new way, learn new skills to try or feel more confident moving forward. Depending on your child’s developmental level, we may be focusing on expressing their emotions, learning coping skills or even completing simple, age appropriate worksheets based in cognitive behavior therapy.
Aspire Counseling Blog Posts You May Find Helpful
- 8 Considerations when discussing School Violence with Children
- 7 Powerful Tips for Parenting Through Divorce
- Helping Your Child Cope with Grief
- Discussing Gender Identity with Your Child
- Talking to Your Child About School Shootings
- Helping Children Understand Terrifying Events
- Identifying Anxiety in Kids & Teens
- Anxiety & School Refusal
- Self Care for Parents of Children with Special Needs
- 4 Benefits of Play Therapy for Children
Call today to find a therapist for your son or daughter
If your child is struggling with grief, anxiety, adjusting to a major life change or another mental health concern, you may be looking for a therapist for your child. If you are wondering, “Will counseling help,” contact us today. We will talk to you about the pros and cons of bringing your child to a therapist. If you decide to start counseling, we’ll help you find the right therapist for your son or daughter. When you let us know what struggles your family is facing, what type of therapist you think your child might respond well to and any scheduling limitations we will let you know which therapist(s) might be a good fit. At the moment we have two therapists who see younger children. As a Columbia, MO counseling center, we will go above and beyond to make sure both you and your child are as comfortable with the process of starting mental health treatment as possible.