Children can not talk about what bothers them in the same way that adults can. Children express how they feel in their behavior. It is these behaviors that usually cause parents to seek treatment. Behaviors such as hyperactivity that are identified as attention deficit disorder or ADHD can be caused by anxiety. Depression can also lead to misbehavior, especially in boys who tend to express their depression through an angry rather than a sad mood. Adolescent misbehavior like drug abuse, delinquent behavior, or running away is frequently a cry for help.
Child psychotherapy differs from adult treatment because children can not talk about what bothers them in the same way that adults can. Children express how they feel through what they do, children often express their feelings in play. Child psychotherapy makes use of play as a form of communication. For example, a child who is preoccupied with feelings of sadness, anger, or episodes of abuse will express those feelings in their play once they feel safe and comfortable in the treatment.
For those children where the issues that prompt a parent to seek treatment are due to problems with anger, social skills, or impulse control problems, those issues are woven into the treatment.
Dr. Hall prefers to meet with a child's parents or guardian prior to treatment to gain a developmental history and learn more about the child before treatment begins. Dr. Hall also meets with parents often during the course of treatment to learn about any changes the parents are seeing in their child while balancing both the need for confidentiality in order for treatment to work with a parent's concern for their child and how they can help them.
Many of the problems children develop do not come from the environment but from views they have developed within themselves of the world and how it works. At times these views are related to environmental circumstances but just as often they are related to internal views of themselves or their world. For example, an adolescent who is underweight or anorexic may see themselves as fat even though anyone else would see them as dangerously thin. Someone who is beautiful may think of themselves as ugly and in need of some external change like plastic surgery instead of an internal change in the way they view themselves.
Dr. Hall has worked with children in psychotherapy for more than thirty years. The types of problems he has worked with have included, anxiety, depression, ADHD, drug abuse, anger issues, anorexia nervosa, issues around divorce, social skills problems, bipolar disorder, physical abuse, and sexual abuse.
Many parents feel that a child will grow out of their problems. Generally, children grow with their problems rather than grow out of them.