What Can Be Done When A Child Resists Therapy?
More often than not, San Diego therapists are confronted with resistance to therapy, especially when they are dealing with children and young teens. However, the good news is that there are several measures parents can take in order to ensure that their child will benefit from the therapy. The best approaches on this matter however, will need to be discussed with your child’s therapist.
What causes a child to be resistant or to refuse therapy?
One of the reasons why a child will refuse to talk to a therapist is the fact that he or she perceives the therapist as a stranger and hence, feels uncomfortable to present their feelings and thoughts. The uncomfortable feeling can be derived from the fact that the child is afraid that the therapist might pass judgment or punish him if he were to tell him how he really feels about his friends, family, school or his current thoughts about life in general. At the same time, the child might not feel that the therapist session is strictly confidential and others will know about his ‘silly’ problems.
What can parents do when confronted with this situation?
When a child refuses or does not respond to a single treatment although he needs it, parents can consider a combination of treatments. For instance, for depressed children and teens, a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy with some mild medication can prove effective. In addition, for children that are only in therapy, it is advisable to discuss the other available approaches that can be used during a session to draw his attention and make him feel safe. If the child refuses to open up or presents resistance to therapy due to shyness, then the best method here is the “lead by example” approach. For instance, you can start out with a few family sessions to create a friendly and safe environment.
Sometimes, it can happen that a child does not respond well to therapy because he feels uncomfortable with his current therapist. It is important to note that not all therapists use the same approaches, so scheduling a meeting with him beforehand can prove helpful to do a pre-screen. Studies have shown that usually children feel more at ease with therapists of the same gender, especially when they have to discuss delicate and intimate matters. Whenever parents are unsure about the preferences of their child the best thing they can do is ask them.
Can the therapist help the child respond better to the treatment?
The short answer to this question is yes, as all professionals in the medical field are well aware of the common fears among children regarding doctors. In general, the visit to the doctor is accompanied by feelings of fear and unknown, mainly because children have a very vivid imagination and they envision the worse. At the same time, let’s not forget the negative portrays the Hollywood blockbusters have managed to create for psychiatrists and therapists alike. However, for best results and positive responses from the child, it is best to get him or her involved in finding the San Diego therapists that he/she feels comfortable around.
What are your experiences? Please let me know by leaving me a comment