Child and Family Therapy

Are you seeking a child psychologist for your child in preschool or primary school?

Do you have worries about your child’s development or mood?

  • Does you child appear to struggle when trying new things?
  • Does your child do things that seem unusual?
  • Does your child talk about a lot of worries?
  • Raising children can be stressful. Parents can find themselves confused and concerned for their children.

They seek expert advice and support to make sure their children have their needs met.

The process is simple and easy

1 Free consultation

On calling us, we make the process simple and easy for you. Our experienced Intake Counsellor will chat with you for up to 15 minutes free of charge.

2 Choice of therapist

The Intake Counsellor will listen and answer all your questions. This will help you make a well-informed decision about who is most suited for your child.

3 Flexible hours and fees

Choose a time that suits your family, including after hours. We offer generous concessions if there are financial difficulties.

Counselling can help your child

Ring us for a free 15 minute phone consultation with our Intake Counsellor – 9-5pm

Choose a child psychologist directly

Medicare and private health rebates may be available. Concessions and bulk billing may be available. Please enquire.

Click a calendar to book.

Elize Olivier

Works with ages 4 and older.
Registered Psychologist, Clinical Supervisor

17Master of Psychology
$170 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444

Amy Stubbs

Works with ages 4 and older.
Registered Psychologist

17Bachelor of Psychology
$170 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444

Don Coles

Works with ages 11 and older.
Mental Health Social Worker, Clinical Supervisor
(Don’s training and rebates are equivalent to psychologists.)

17Master of Social Work
$170 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444

May Shum

Works with ages 11 and older.
Registered Psychologist, Assoc. MAPS

17$170 per session Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444

Child therapy

How can counselling help my child?

Our child psychologists seek to offer the best possible treatment for your children, including:

  • counselling for common mental health issues including depression and anxiety
  • support for social development
  • support to improve family attachments
  • assessment
  • diagnosis
  • early intervention
  • psychological treatments
  • support for transitional times in a child or teenager’s life

The age range for treatment of children is from 4 to 18 years of age.

What are the common issues that we can support?

Our child psychologists can offer support for the following issues:

  • developmental difficulties
  • specific learning difficulties such as reading difficulties
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Opposition Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • anxiety disorders in children
  • depression disorders in children
  • social difficulties
  • life skills development
  • discipline issues

Preschool years

During these years, children often need help to:

  • improve social skills
  • develop pre-academic skill
  • increase emotional competence
  • reduce separation anxiety

During these years, parents may begin to notice differences in their children’s development. Parents may notice that their children are not developing at the same pace as their peers.

Parent education is a common part of therapy for this age group.

Common interventions for preschoolers

Neurological, cognitive disabilities and social issues are first noticed and diagnosed at this age. Parents may need support and psychoeducation to understand what these diagnoses mean and how they can be treated.

Some interventions that are common for this age group are:

  • behavioural interventions
  • emotional scaffolding and coaching
  • developing routines and structures
  • treating separation anxiety, and specific phobias such as fears of animals or loud noises

Primary school years

Common interventions for primary schoolers

Children of this age find support to identify and communicate emotions very helpful. Sadly, this is also the time when some children experience grief and loss in relation to losing elderly relatives. There is also a high likelihood that children are the victims of bullying at school. This is often hard to navigate for a child and expert support helps.

Some interventions that are common for this age group are:

  • teaching conflict resolution and communication skills
  • expressive therapies
  • developing resilience and assertiveness skills
  • grief and trauma counselling
  • academic support and assessments

As children develop throughout their primary school years, they are undergoing significant changes. They require support around:

  • developing self esteem, self worth, value and identity
  • developing confidence to try new things
  • developing emotional expression
  • navigating grief and trauma experiences

If children have suffered trauma or setbacks, they will need support. Some children experience significant shyness and find trying new things really scary. They hold worries inside and don’t yet have the emotional expression to say how they are feeling.

I continue to believe that if children are given the necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams!
– David Vitter

Family therapy

The above mentioned issues may be dealt with in an individual, one-on-one modality. Or they may be better treated using a family therapy model, where other family members take part in sessions.

Family therapy sessions focus on:

  • relationship building
  • attachment building
  • routine setting
  • improving communication
  • educating family member

Counselling children utilises a family therapy model where there following elements may feature:

  • parent coaching
  • supporting children to state their worries
  • providing a child’s voice
  • facilitating discipline strategies
  • structuring plans to meet the needs of the whole family

The child or young person will have a say in who participates in the family therapy session.

Common questions about child and family therapy

Does my child need individual or family therapy?

Factors to consider include:

  • Is this an issue around my child’s emotional or developmental needs?
  • Is the issue affecting the whole family, or more than one member?
  • Are there relationship or communication factors to consider?

Family therapy enables family members to:

  • express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions
  • understand each other’s experiences and views
  • appreciate each other’s needs, and build on strengths
  • make useful changes in their relationships and their lives

What issues does family therapy help with?

Family therapy may cover any of these issues:

  • anger management
  • separation and divorce, and the impact on family members
  • building better relationships
  • child protection
  • communication issues
  • conflict resolution
  • decision making and negotiation
  • emotional abuse
  • extended family and boundaries
  • family mediation
  • parenting plans

Do I stay in the room with my child?

This is dependant on the issues of referral and also your child’s age and capabilities. As a general rule we work directly with parents of children under 4 years of age. We rarely do direct work with the child at this age. For children 5-8, they may need a parent to be involved in their sessions.

The expectation of the parent is to provide emotional support or practical support. The issue may be around parenting or behavioural management. If this is the case, a higher percentage of the work we do is directly with the parent. We will be providing parent coaching and counselling.

How do you treat my child?

Treatment for this age group requires a child psychologist to think creatively. This helps to engage with your child in a way that will foster their progress. We use expressive therapies such as play and art as a means to enable children to express themselves. Through these strategies the child will gain understanding of their situation.

There is some element of teaching in therapy as well. Children often require support to learn concepts such as emotions and feelings.

They also require some coaching for practicing the methods they learn. This will help consolidate their therapy.

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