Children and adolescents therapy
(3 years old to 15 years old)
Children and adolescents who experience abuse, domestic violence, loss, parental divorce, harsh criticism, or bullying may feel confused about their traumatic experiences. They also may feel anxious or depressed as they try to understand what's happening. Children and adolescents who grow up with caregivers who are unpredictable or emotionally absent may develop an extreme fear of closeness or abandonment, leading to low self-esteem and difficulty forming healthy boundaries, making them vulnerable to further trauma.
The adults sometimes do not realise or dismiss their children's emotional struggles, which leads to their children expressing their pain through negative behaviours such as self-harm, eating disorder or addictions.
Counselling and psychotherapy help children and adolescents process their challenges and express their pains in the context of play or expressive arts. When children and adolescents find space to process and make sense of their experiences positively, thus protects them from having to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Children and adolescents who are allowed to heal from their trauma early in life are more likely to grow up to be healthy adults than those who have to live through their traumatic experiences alone.
At Restoring Peace, we provide psychotherapy for children and adolescents so they may experience healing from their traumatic or challenging experiences. Our children and adolescent therapists are competent in various psychotherapy for children and adolescents, including Play therapy, Expressive Arts, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) and EMDR.
Play is the universal language of children. And play goes beyond just using toys and figurines for enjoyment and fun. The play uses the vocabulary of metaphors, allowing children to "play out" what they cannot express and yet feel safe to express them freely and explore their harrowing experiences. Thus, play therapy is an effective intervention for children who need therapeutic support, particularly when they struggle with using words to identify or recognise the causes of concerns.
Children and adolescents who attend play therapy show improvement in the following:
Healing from trauma
In Play Therapy, children and adolescents process their challenges using toys and equipment in the safety and comfort of the therapy room. The medium used in play therapy include toys, dolls, figurines, blocks, sandplay or games. During Play Therapy, the therapist may engage the children or adolescents using various therapeutic techniques such as movement, storytelling, pretend play or drama to help them process their emotions and facilitate healing.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT)
Various research and studies recognise TF-CBT as one of the leading trauma therapy for children and adolescents. TF-CBT aims to process the distorted beliefs or attributions developed from the trauma that results in the survivors' negative emotional and behavioural responses or thoughts.
TF-CBT is a supportive intervention for child trauma survivors to process their traumatic experiences and identify maladaptive thoughts, behaviour, and relationship challenges. The TF-CBT Therapist work with the children using creative activities such as play and journal writing to develop skills to cope with ordinary life stressors and move past their traumatic experiences.
As a co-joint intervention, the TF-CBT therapist works with the parents or caregivers of the trauma survivors to develop skills to cope with their distress and painful emotions. TF-CBT therapist also provides the parents or caregivers training on effective communication, stress management and positive parenting. The family therapy component supports parents in decreasing emotional distress and depressive symptoms and increases their capacity for child management and support.
Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive Arts Therapy is a multimodal intervention using creative expression to help children and adolescents make sense of their challenges using creative expressions such as drawing, movement, music, sandplay and symbols.
Expressive Arts Therapy is especially well suited to children and adolescents with difficulty articulating their inner world using words alone. These clients can use the many forms of creative arts to express themselves.
Expressive Arts Therapy is effective in helping children and adolescents overcome behavioural, emotional, and mental health conditions, which include:
Attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD)
High levels of stress
Sandplay and Symbol Works
Sandplay and Symbol work is part of Expressive Arts Therapy. It is a powerful therapeutic tool that helps children and adolescents access their inner world using sand, sandbox and various miniatures. The purpose of the Sandplay and Symbol Work is to help children or adolescents connect with their deeper layers of the self, and confront their inner conflicts, paving the way for healing and transformation.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is an effective therapy to help children and adolescents to heal from trauma and various mental health challenges. EMDR is a research-validated psychotherapy treatment found to help significantly decrease anxiety and PTSD symptoms. Read more about EMDR here.
OUR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENT THERAPISTS
LEE TSUI LING
Tsui Ling holds vibrant experience in helping children and adolescents heal from trauma, bullying and other adverse childhood experiences. She also provides coaching for parents and children. Read more about Tsui Ling here.
Mellissa is a divorced specialist who counsels children who experience parental divorce and post-divorce. She also works with children separated from their caregivers because of abuse.Read more about Mellissa here.
Abigail is a grief therapist and works with children age 8 years old and above who lost their loved ones through death. Read more about Abigail here.
Rose is an experienced trauma psychotherapist who integrates EMDR with Expressive Arts, Sandplay, and Symbol Works to help adolescents overcome their traumatic experiences, low self-confident and performance anxiety. Read more about Rose here.