Does My Child Need Therapy?

DR. JOHANNA

BERGER,

Clinical Psychologist

Many parents are unsure whether their child needs to see a psychologist. If you feel that something just isn't right and you are concerned about your child's well-being, I recommend listening to your instinct and addressing your concern with a professional. A great way to start is by talking with your primary care doctor. I am also available to discuss whether your child may benefit from seeing a psychologist. 

For emergencies and immediate help, call 911. For example, if you or your child are suicidal, engaging in life-threatening self-harming behaviors, or threatening to hurt yourself or someone else, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911. See below for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of the 12 Warning Signs for Suicide.

 

People often don't realize that, in addition to problems that raise serious concerns, psychologists also treat problems that are mild to moderate in severity. Maybe you've noticed that your child is avoiding her peers and you aren't sure why. Or, you’ve noticed that your child is easily frustrated, often distracted, frequently fighting with her peers, or starting to engage in risky behaviors.

 

Psychologists are available to teach more adaptive skills, including skills to help with interpersonal difficulties, managing emotions effectively, addressing unhelpful thinking patterns or behaviors, and handling conflict effectively. Therapy often helps children improve their abilities to tolerate distress, problem solve, communicate assertively, and confront their fears. Every session is also an opportunity for increased self-awareness and self-acceptance. 

My genuine passion for treating children and creative approach, along with my sense of humor, has proven effective in engaging children in therapy. 

 

The list of problems below is not comprehensive. It is meant only to provide some additional guidance. I recommend contacting a psychologist today, if your child is exhibiting any of the following.

 

  • Significant changes in eating or sleeping habits

  • Difficulty making friends and significant conflict with peers 

  • Distant from you and her peers and no longer engaging in activities she once enjoyed

  • Repeated passing of urine or feces in places other than the toilet after age 5

  • Worries excessively and feels like she cannot control her worry

  • Low self-esteem or severely self-critical 

  • Talking about or engaging in self-harm behaviors  

  • Engaging in risky, impulsive behaviors

  • Expressing hopelessness, feeling depressed and sad most of the time

  • Difficulty with time management, organization, and paying attention​

  • Difficulty managing anger, often frustrated, aggressive, lying, or throwing tantrums

  • Playing video games to excess, to the extent that he is missing school, is irritable or angry when not playing, or is no longer interested in any other leisure activities

  • Obsessions or repetitive behaviors, such as checking, that impair functioning

  • Self-destructive behaviors, including pulling hair or picking skin

  • Struggling with a major life transition, including divorce or parents remarrying

  • Experience of trauma, including sexual, physical, or emotional abuse

  • Difficulty grieving after the loss of a close relative or friend

I understand that you may still be unsure if your child needs therapy. Often in life, taking the first step on a new path brings feelings of uncertainty. That's understandable. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation and will gladly do my best to answer any questions. If I believe another psychologist can better assist you, I will give you a referral. I’m here to help. I look forward to discussing your options with you. 

12 Warning Signs for Suicide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following are  12 Warning Signs for Suicide.

  • Feeling like a burden

  • Being isolated

  • Increased anxiety

  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

  • Increased substance use

  • Looking for a way to access lethal means

  • Increased anger or rage

  • Extreme mood swings

  • Expressing hopelessness

  • Sleeping too little or too much

  • Talking or posting about wanting to die

  • Making plans for suicide

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255. 

OFFICE INFO

Address: 65 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Email: info@drjohannab.com

Tel: 917-254-9770

Hours:

Monday - Thursday: 10am - 7pm

Friday: 10am - 4pm

Sunday: 10am - 4pm

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    © 2020 by Johanna Berger, PhD, Psychologist, PLLC.     All rights reserved.      Disclaimer