A family environment of love and respect is so important for children as they grow and mature. But sometimes, psychological, behavioural, and emotional struggles can arise, with impacts that can touch everyone in the family.
At Bright Star Counselling, we offer a unique type of service known as child-led counselling. You may be wondering, what does it mean exactly for counselling to be "child-led"?
As the name implies, child-led counselling operates with your child at the centre of the process, at every step of the way. This lets us understand the obstacles your child is facing and ensures they get as much out of each session as possible.
By placing the focus on your child, we’re able to more effectively understand their state of mind, and make sure everyone is working towards the happiness of the whole family, starting with your child.
We’ve seen firsthand how powerful this type of therapy is. It’s a way for families to reconnect, for parents to get a better understanding of their children, and for children to learn healthy and positive ways of thinking, feeling, and expressing themselves. With this in mind, here are six wonderful benefits of child-led counselling you should know about.
1. Creating healthy boundaries
Establishing boundaries is an essential part of taking responsibility for your own life and well-being. Clear, healthy boundaries help foster respect and allow your child to feel safe and comfortable.
Child-led counselling is a great way to discover, communicate, and uphold healthy boundaries for children and parents alike. In turn, these boundaries will help you learn how to interact with one another in a way that works for everyone.
2. Strengthening family communication
Communication is key in any relationship, but sometimes it's overlooked when it comes to families. Child-led counselling is a great way to improve communication skills for both parents and children, and allows everyone to speak their mind clearly and be understood.
It's also great for teaching children and youth to express their emotions in a healthy, positive way—giving them the tools they need to communicate these feelings rather than bottling them up.
3. Providing healthy coping tools and strategies
Every child has their own unique set of strengths and challenges that they deal with on a daily basis. And when times are hard, it’s vital that they have a toolkit of healthy coping strategies.
Your therapist can help your child develop and use these vital tools, which will eventually lead to a deeper understanding of their emotional needs and strategies. Over time, working on these healthy coping tools helps everyone learn how to better support one another.
4. Improving family dynamics and interactions
Child-led counselling can be helpful if it’s been tougher than usual to communicate in a positive way within your family. By maintaining the central focus on your child, your therapist will coach and guide all members of the family to improve interactions, heal negative family dynamics, and foster a family culture of love and respect.
5. Getting support for children and youth with mental health challenges
Supporting a child or a youth who is struggling mentally and cognitively is a real challenge. Child-led counselling is a great way for parents to learn more about their child’s state of mind and develop tools of their own that can be used to support them.
The beauty of child-led counselling is its flexibility—it can be used in so many contexts and scenarios to help support the parents who can then, in turn, support their children.
6. Adapting to big family changes
There are many times and major transitions that prove challenging for families. The separation or divorce of parents is a very common one; it takes time and support to adjust to a new family structure and the feelings that come with it. We also often use our child-led service when grieving the loss of a family member, or after the discovery of a serious health issue.
Child-led counselling is a great way to help your family navigate such challenges. The needs of your child are placed at the forefront of the process.
As you can see, there are many reasons to give this style of counselling a shot. And bear in mind that these aren’t the only situations where we recommend it. We truly believe that any family can benefit from the open, honest space created by child-led counselling.