Youth Therapy

What is youth therapy?

Youth therapy is a tool for helping children and teens with mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, or those who are displaying troubling behaviour. The duration of the therapy program depends on the individual circumstances, with some youth needing only a few sessions in order to resolve a particular issue, and others needing ongoing therapy as they live with mental illnesses.

Youth therapy is a process that involves varying degrees of family participation. Depending on the circumstances, some therapy sessions may be conducted alone with the child, while others include the parents or other family members.


How does it help?

Youth therapy can be immensely valuable, not only to children and teenagers, but to their parents and siblings. It can help in many ways, including the following:

  • Youth can get treatment for anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns
  • Teens and their parents can learn how to communicate with one another and resolve conflicts
  • Young people can explore and resolve the issues that are behind eating disorders or self-injurious behaviour
  • Parents and other family members can learn to identify the warning signs of depression, and take appropriate action to get help for the child or teenager
  • Young children who have experienced trauma are given a safe place and professional guidance to describe the events that occurred and the resulting thoughts and emotions
  • Children can learn the coping skills necessary to live with a sibling who has a disability or a serious illness


How does it work?

Youth therapy is generally initiated by parents, either at the request of the child or because they are concerned about the way the child is speaking or acting. Although most Canadian provinces do allow children to seek help on their own, without first obtaining parental consent, youth therapy is for the most part a process that involves at least one other family member.

The duration and structure of therapy will vary depending on the circumstances. Sometimes the therapist will see the child alone. What happens in those sessions will usually be kept confidential, between the child and the therapist, but the therapist may divulge some of the discussion to parents or guardians if there is a concern for the safety of the child or anyone else.

Other sessions may include the child’s parents, siblings or other family members.

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