PSYCHODYNAMIC THERAPY FOR CHILDREN

'There is no such thing as a baby, there is a baby and someone' 

Winnicott

In our work with children and their parents we focus on supporting the relationship between them. This means that we work collaboratively with the parents in helping them understand the issues that motivate and influence their child's behavior, thoughts, and feelings. In parallel, we work with the child through a variety of attachment and trauma informed models of intervention (dyadic therapy, play-based developmental approach, mentalising-based focused therapy, narrative therapy).

 

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF PSYCHODYNAMIC PLAY-DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR CHILDREN?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy for children is a play based and developmental therapy that helps the child to express her inner world - with its defenses and responses to inner conflicts and/or relational struggles - while being 'held in mind' by the therapist and the caregiver. It benefits young children (ages 4 to 10) suffering from early disruption of attachment and trauma, emotion disregulation, anxiety an so on. This therapy is usually a long term therapy (6-12 months). Parents are seen separately on  a regular basis for feedback sessions.

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ADOLESCENTS?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a verbal therapy that helps young people to become more aware of their own way of being and relating while offering a safe space to explore  and develop a more integrated sense of self and a life narrative. It benefits young people (ages 13 to 25) who experience emotional and relationship difficulties as core features of their mental health disturbance.

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF MBT-C?

The overall aim of MBT-C is to promote mentalising (the ability to reflect on the states of mind of self and others)  and resilience in such a way that a developmental process is put back on track, and the family and child feel better equipped to tackle the problems that first brought them to therapy (Midgley et al. 2017). MBT-C is a focused therapy (12 sessions for the child and 12 sessions for the parent/s) for children aged 4 to 12 experiencing affective or anxiety disorders, mild or moderate behavior problem, struggles with adjusting to particular life challenges, such as parental divorce or bereavement. It is both verbal and play based depending on the emotional and cognitive level of functioning of each child. Children and parents are seen separately.

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF PARENT-INFANT PSYCHOTHERAPY (PIP)?

Parent-Infant Psychotherapy (PIP) is a method of early intervention to promote infant development in the context of a vulnerable primary relationship due to the most diverse reasons (parental mental illness, trauma, isolation, internal and external pressures and so on). The psychotherapic work happens with the baby in the room alongside the work with the mother and her states of mind and with their attachment relationship (Barandon, 2005). Length of treatment is variable and will be discussed after an initial assessment which usually takes place over three initial sessions.

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF PARENT SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE?

For many families, guidance to parents is as important as direct sessions with children. This work with parents focuses on helping parents to think about what is behind their children’s behaviors, also defined as 'mentalising'. Further, parents are helped to understand how their own beliefs and experiences influence their understanding and managing of their children. The clarity with which parents see their child's behaviours as communication of internal states will help them to become more tuned into their child or children, meet the child's emotional needs and create a sense of delight and security. This, in turn, will help the child to better mange their emotions and feel more understood and delighted in. This is the foundation for helping children to develop self-esteem, sound relationships and a desire to learn and be curious about the world (including the academic realm).

HOW LONG DOES EACH THERAPY/ASSESSMENT SESSION TAKE?

Individual and parent-child sessions last 50-60 minutes.

DOES MY CHILD GET ASSESSED BEFORE STARTING THERAPY?

In order to provide your child with the best therapeutic intervention for her needs, an initial assessment will be conducted. The assessment usually requires 3 to 4 sessions of which one or two will be with the parent/s alone to collect your child developmental history and the relevant information on his/her current struggles. Your child will then have two assessment sessions either on his/her own and/or with the parent/s. This is an assessment to ascertain if the child and the family need therapy and if they are ready to engage in therapy. A feedback session will follow the assessment to discuss assessment outcomes and the therapeutic plan if needed.

 

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