child & adolescent talk therapy

Strong families are the cornerstone of safe and secure communities. The goal is to help strengthen families by encouraging effective communication as well as helping children and adolescents to develop healthy problem-solving skills. These services will effectively promote improvements in vital aspects of a child’s life, including increased academic achievement, decreased aggression and fighting, as well as improved family communication. A child’s social and emotional development are as important as physical health in creating a solid platform on which healthy functioning in home, school and community rests.

As children and adolescents grow, they are constantly in the process of developing the social skills and emotional intelligence necessary to lead healthy, happy lives. When children experience emotions or engage in behaviors that interfere with their happiness and ability to thrive, they may benefit from meeting with a mental health professional such as a therapist.


According to the National Institute on Mental Illness (NAMI) about 4 million children and adolescents experience a mental health issue that significantly impairs them at home, school, or in their social groups. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates prevalence rates for the following diagnosable mental health conditions among children ages 3 to 17.

prevalence rates:

Attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD): 6.8%
Behavioral conditions: 3.5%
Anxiety: 3%
Depression: 2%

These mental health conditions represent a portion of those experienced by children and adolescents, but they are certainly not inclusive of all conditions experienced.

Child abuse and neglect

Child abuse and neglect are also prevalent concerns among the various stressful life events that can lead to mental health challenges. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recorded 686,000 cases of child maltreatment in the year 2012 alone. Children who are abused or neglected may be unable to share what they have experienced due to overwhelming fear or shame. However, most professionals who work with children—including therapists—are mandated by law to report child maltreatment to appropriate authorities, regardless of any agreements about confidentiality.


When children reach adolescence, relationships, romantic or otherwise, can be a point of significant strife. Relationships between parents and children are crucial to healthy development, but may become strained by the many ups and downs of adolescent life. For example, most teenagers worry about romantic relationships. However, for some teenagers, worrying about relationships may excessively drain their energy and make it difficult to enjoy life.


Disordered eating, a condition that, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, affects about 10% of young women in the United States, may be attributed in part to the social pressures and stress of adolescent life. Two common forms of this condition, anorexia nervosa and bulimia, are more common in the female population but also occur in the adolescent male population.

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Child Talk Therapy




As they grow, children will experience changes in their moods and behaviors. Some of these changes are relatively predictable and, though they may be challenging, most are completely normal aspects of child development. In general, as long as children are behaving in ways that are consistent with their age range, the challenges they experience should not create cause for concern.

 Infancy: Trust vs. Mistrust

In the first stage of human development, infants explore the world and learn whether their environment is a safe, predictable place. Infants require a significant amount of attention and comforting from their parents, and it is from the parents that they develop their first sense of trust or mistrust.

early childhood: autonomy vs. shame and doubt

In the second stage of psychosocial development, children begin to assert independence, develop preferences, and make choices. Defiance, temper tantrums, and stubbornness are common. It is in this stage that a person first begins developing interests, a sense of autonomy, and shame or doubt.

preschool years: initiative vs. guilt

In this stage, children learn about social roles and emotions. They become active and curious. Imaginary play is a crucial part of this stage. Defiance, temper tantrums, and stubbornness remain common. As they develop, children will begin exhibiting behaviors of their own volition. The way parents and caregivers react will encourage a child's initiative to act independently or cause the child to develop a sense of guilt about inappropriate actions.

School Age: Industry (Competence) vs. Inferiority

Relationships with peers and academic performance become increasingly important in this stage. Children begin to display a wider and more complex range of emotions. This is a time when problems or disappointment in academic and social settings may lead to mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. As academic and social tasks become more demanding, conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity and oppositional behavior may interfere.

Adolescence: Identity vs. Role confusion

Adolescents become more independent and begin to form identities based on experimentation with new behaviors and roles. Puberty usually occurs during this stage, bringing with it a host of physical and emotional changes. Changes during these often volatile adolescent years may strain parent-adolescent relationships, especially when new behaviors go beyond experimentation and cause problems at school or home, or if emotional highs and lows persist and lead to experiences such as anxiety or depression.

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adolescent TALK THERAPY




Each developmental phase presents specific challenges for children that they tend to work through as normal parts of growing up. Mental health problems can exacerbate these challenges, though, and in many cases, mental health issues arise as a direct result of events in a child’s life, whether those events are traumatic experiences such as being bullied or ordinary experiences such as moving to a new home. 

A child’s age, gender, and other factors will influence his or her resilience to changes and challenges in life. Younger children and boys, for example, often have an easier time adjusting to divorce than do girls or older children. Genetics play a role, too, as some mental health issues, such as bipolar, tend to run in families.

Every child will respond differently to changes in life, but some of the events that may impact a child’s mental health include:
  • Parental Divorce/ Separation
  • Birth of a Sibling
  • Death of a Loved One (family member or pet)
  • Physical or Sexual Abuse
  • Poverty and Homelessness
  • Natural Disasters
  • Domestic Violence
  • Moving to a New Place or Attending a New School
  • Being Bullied 
  • Taking on More Responsibility Than What is Age Appropriate
Are You Concerned About Attendance, Academic Performance or Out of District Placements?

Pathways to Progress School Behavioral Health Program

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Ultimately, the goal of the Pathways to Progress School Behavioral Health Program is to create healthy environments for learning by partnering with schools in developing prevention and intervention strategies that promote academic and life success for all of the students. Specifically, the Pathways to Progress School Behavioral Health Program helps to identify and intervene during the early stages of problematic behavior and assist parents and school personnel in developing comprehensive strategies for addressing these behaviors.