How Child Psychologists, Child Therapists and Counsellors Play a Key Role in Children’s Mental Health

Child psychologists, child therapists and counsellors play a crucial role in assessing, and helping children and young people with emotional health issues They are specifically trained to understand the unique challenges and experiences of children, employing various therapeutic techniques to promote healthier thought patterns and behaviours.

Recognising and addressing mental health issues early on is a critical aspect of their work. Early detection and intervention can prevent the escalation of mental health problems, leading to better outcomes for the child’s future. The importance of mental health in children cannot be overstated, as it lays the foundation for their overall well-being, academic achievement, and ability to form successful relationships.

The Mental Health Landscape for Young People

Mental health issues among young people are a growing concern worldwide. In 2022, 18% of children aged 11 to 16 had a probable mental disorder, with a further 10.8% having a possible mental disorder (Digital NHS).

Depression is a common mental health problem that affects young people’s mental health. It goes beyond just feeling sad or upset for a few days. Young people with depression may feel hopeless, lack energy, have difficulty sleeping, lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, and even have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Anxiety conditions are also prevalent among young people. These disorders can manifest in several ways, including generalised anxiety  condition, panic  condition , and social anxiety  condition. Young people with these  conditions often feel excessive, uncontrollable worry about everyday situations, which can interfere with their daily activities.

The onset of these issues at a young age can lead to a cycle of emotion-regulation problems, potentially leading to more severe mental health disorders later in life. Therefore, it is crucial to recognise and address these mental health problems early to prevent their escalation and ensure the overall well-being of young people.

The Role of a Child Psychologists, Child Therapists and Counsellors

Child psychologists, child therapists and counsellors play a pivotal role in identifying and assessing mental health difficulties in children. They use a combination of methods to assess children’s mental health issues.

. These assessments involve structured interviews and child and young person-centered assessment tools specifically designed to evaluate a child’s emotional and mental health.

Creating a safe and supportive environment is another crucial aspect of a child psychologist’s, child therapist’s and counsellor’s role. They provide support to children dealing with various mental health issues, helping them navigate their emotions and cope with their experiences. These skilled therapists use therapeutic techniques to aid children in managing their feelings, thoughts, and behaviours.

Different Types of Therapy for Children

Counselling and psychological therapy are both types of talking therapies that provide a safe, confidential space for young people to express their thoughts and feelings. They are facilitated by trained therapists who offer impartial support and guidance.

In counselling, young people can expect to feel listened to and understood. It is an open and flexible therapy where they can discuss their concerns freely without fear of judgment or pressure. The objective is to help  young people understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours better, fostering self-knowledge, emotional acceptance, and growth.

Therapy can seem daunting, but professional and friendly therapists for young people are available to create a personalised treatment plan that works best for the child. These services are available  young people 13 to 17, at our clinics in York, Manchester, and online.

Creative Arts Therapy

Creative Arts Therapy is a unique form of therapy for children and young people that utilises various creative mediums such as artwork, drama, songs, and poems to facilitate communication and self-expression. It’s designed to help children and young people find their voice through a creative medium, making it an effective treatment even without any prior skills or experience in the arts.

This type of therapy comes into play when children and young people find it hard to articulate their feelings verbally. It provides a safe way for children to express themselves, communicate their experiences, or make sense of their emotions. By engaging in a fun, creative activity with their therapist, children can comfortably convey feelings or thoughts they find challenging to discuss. This approach also makes the therapy sessions less daunting, helping to put them at ease.

Creative Arts Therapy sessions are tailored to suit each child and young person’s individual wants and needs, offering different forms of creative art therapies, including art therapy, drama therapy, and the use of stories. Children and young people are provided with a range of visual art, drama, and music materials to make them feel comfortable during each session. They are encouraged to express themselves freely, with no right or wrong way of doing so.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps children and young people change their thought patterns and behaviours. It’s a talking therapy that can be combined with play-based approaches for younger children, making it more engaging and effective.

The premise of CBT is that our feelings, thoughts, and behaviours are interconnected, affecting each other. The therapy helps children break down overwhelming problems into smaller, more manageable parts. By changing how they think and act, children can deal with these problems in a more positive and practical manner.

Family Therapy

In family therapy, children and young people can expect to engage in discussions about difficulties they might be facing and work collaboratively towards finding new solutions. This therapy aims to help family members understand each other better and navigate their emotions in a supportive environment. It makes challenging thoughts and feelings feel more manageable over time.

Family therapy has been found to be highly beneficial for children and young people experiencing a wide range of difficulties, including  emotional health issues, physical illness, bereavement, and eating disorders. The focus of this therapy is on improving communication and relationships within the family, without placing blame on any individual member. Therapists work with families to understand problems within the context they occur.

Parent-Child Therapy

Parent-child therapy is a form of therapy that involves both the parent/carer and child/young person undergoing individual therapy sessions with a therapist. The goal is to assess the child/young person’s needs and design a bespoke treatment program tailored to both the parent/carer’s and child/young person’s needs.

This type of therapy is beneficial for parents/carers who find it challenging to understand and respond to their child/young person’s needs. It provides support for both parents/carers and children/young people, helping them overcome difficult situations, avoid stressful circumstances, and strengthen their bond.

Parent-child therapy can offer invaluable insights into the child/young person’s world, helping parents/carers understand their child’s thoughts, ideas, and intentions from their perspective. It fosters better communication between them, acknowledging the child/young person’s individual thoughts and feelings.

For young children, therapy sessions may involve interactional play activities with the therapist, which helps manage their emotions in a comfortable environment. Parents/carers are then guided on how to use these activities with their children at home.

Play Therapy

Play Therapy is a therapeutic approach offered at The Retreat Clinics, designed to help children express their thoughts and feelings through play – a natural form of communication for many children. It aims to make the child feel understood by their therapist and their parent or carer.

In Play Therapy, different types of play are used depending on the child’s age, individual needs, and choices. These may include sand tray activities, arts and crafts, role play, and sensory play.

This type of therapy can be beneficial for children dealing with a variety of issues, including anxiety, low mood, trauma, bereavement, and depression.

During a Play Therapy session, children use play to learn more about their feelings and thoughts. For instance, they might use role play to re-enact a traumatic or difficult experience, helping them understand what happened and how they can cope with these feelings moving forward. Play Therapy can also assist your child in managing relationships with family, friends, and others in their daily lives.

In conclusion, child psychologists, child therapists and counsellors are crucial in supporting the mental health of young people. Their work helps children navigate their thoughts and feelings, , and build stronger relationships with those around them. Encouraging young people to seek help and support when needed can make a significant difference in their mental health journey.


Digital NHS (2022)—mental-health