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How Effective Is Counseling in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Counseling, also referred to as psychotherapy, is a foundational aspect of child and adolescent psychiatry. While this type of treatment is not the only psychiatric method of addressing mental health and behavioral issues, it is often a good place to start. Here are some of the different types of psychotherapy that can be effective in treating child and adolescent mental health conditions. How effective these therapies are will often depend on the age of the patient, the severity of the disorders or comorbid disorders and whether the therapy is combined with medication.
Types of psychotherapy
There are a variety of different counseling methods employed by psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners. A psychiatrist can evaluate which method or combination of methods will be most helpful in addressing the particular challenges that a patient is facing. Often, a combination of therapy and medication is the most effective treatment, but every situation will be different and require a slightly different approach. Here are some of the most common types of psychotherapy and the conditions they are typically used to treat.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is intended to address negative thinking patterns and behaviors. The therapist will help guide the patient in discovering where thinking errors are occurring and how to alter thoughts, which can, in turn, improve mood and behavior. CBT is often used to address more short-term goals and improve specific behaviors or thinking patterns. It has been shown to be successful in treating anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD and other disorders.
As indicated by the name, family therapy involves multiple members of the family. It focuses on improving the ways that families communicate and interact. This type of therapy can be used in conjunction with others in psychiatry to help provide support and education, especially to parents who might be feeling overwhelmed or confused about how to help their child. Family therapy can be helpful to families of children dealing with any number of mental health or behavior issues.
Play therapy is common for treating young children. The therapist might use different toys, games and activities to help children express difficult emotions or thoughts. The goal is to tease out patterns and behaviors that can help lead to a diagnosis. It can also make sessions less intimidating for children. Play therapy can be used for many disorders.
Dialectical behavior therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy was developed specifically for older adolescents suffering from borderline personality disorder. It is also used for those who continuously have strong negative or suicidal thoughts or purposefully harm themselves. During DBT, patients are taught how to deal with intense negative emotion, accept responsibility for their problems and recognize how they respond to conflict and negative emotion so that they can adjust that response appropriately.
The field of psychiatry relies on the efficacy of counseling, often in combination with medication, to address the varied needs of patients. For children and adolescents in particular, psychotherapy is an effective way of beginning treatment.
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