Empathetic Child & Adolescent Therapy

Every parent knows the feeling of caring more about another life than one’s own. Your child means everything to you. Your heart soars when they are happy, healthy, and successful, and it breaks when you see them struggle. Many parents feel alone when their kids face anxiety, depression, anger, and trouble with school. Some feel overwhelmed, stuck, and unsure where to turn for help. No matter what you and your child are going through, we are here to help.
We offer therapy sessions and psychological assessments in Spanish as well / También ofrecemos sesiones de terapia y evaluaciones psicológicas en español.

Does My Child Need Therapy?

We frequently hear this question at WMPS: Does my child need therapy? Are their issues “normal,” or is there something else going on? Can therapy help with my child’s challenges? In short, Child and Adolescent therapy is advised if you are seeing one or more of the following:

  • Dysfunction
  • Distress
  • Deviance
  • Danger

Dysfunction means that something isn’t working. Children and teens might have trouble at school, difficulties taking care of themselves, or behaviors that get in the way of living well. Emotional issues, communication problems, learning challenges, and more can cause dysfunction.

Distress is about a child’s discomfort or suffering and its impact on the family dynamic. For example, a teen might struggle with depression (which is distressing to them), and their depression also makes them not want to spend time with family. Or a child might be defiant or rude, which doesn’t cause them distress per se but is highly distressing to the parent.

Deviance is about rule-breaking. Some children struggle with understanding and following rules in the home and the classroom, while others might break the law (e.g., stealing, lighting fires, violent acts, etc.).

Danger is any risk of bodily harm to oneself or others and is often a symptom of deeper issues. If your child or teen struggles with suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or other harmful behaviors, seek immediate professional help and call 911.

Although these four categories of issues represent the most common reasons families seek treatment for their children, therapy isn’t just about “fixing” a problem. Kids and teens are in a critical stage of development, which means that therapy can also augment their growth and prepare them for the next stage in life.

Some other reasons you might consider therapy for your child might include:

  • Divorce, separation, or remarriage
  • Bullying and other peer issues
  • Experiencing abuse or neglect
  • Moving to a new city or changing schools
  • Academic pressure or drop in performance
  • Death of a loved one or pet
  • Transition readiness (e.g., middle school to high school, high school to college)

Therapy can help your child overcome personal challenges and live well. No matter what your child is facing, therapy can make a difference.

How Can Therapy Help?

Therapy for children and teens is designed to do three main things.

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Provide Insights

Therapy provides insight into the problem. The most effective therapy begins with an accurate assessment and diagnosis to customize treatments to your child’s needs. Our initial therapy session includes a psychological evaluation, allowing the clinician to provide answers about what your child is experiencing. In addition to this initial psychological evaluation, WMPS offers complete psychological assessments for individuals who want more in-depth information or may require differential diagnostics.

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Provide A Safe Space

Therapy provides a safe space to learn and grow. Some children feel uncomfortable talking about their struggles to family members. Teenagers especially prefer the privacy of a non-parent confidant as they begin to understand what it means to be a young adult. Therapy allows kids to express themselves openly without worrying about what mom, dad, or siblings might think. Your child often feels more confident opening up with you and other family members as they progress.

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Provide Interventions When Necessary

Therapy implements interventions for the individual and family. As your child meets for individual therapy, they will develop new insights, become mindful and aware of their thoughts and feelings, and learn to solve and cope with their difficulties. Additionally, therapists recommend to parents and families to augment their child’s progress. We work together to ensure your child continues to meet their goals and thrive. You don’t have to do this alone. Let our team become your team.

What Does Child Therapy Look Like At West Michigan Psychological Services?

Let’s work together! Each of our sessions is confidential and specifically designed to meet your goals. Our first meeting (called an intake interview) is about helping you, your child, and your child’s therapist get to know each other and develop a game plan for treatment. We will work together to identify the issues your child might be struggling with, define the focus of treatment, discuss initial recommendations, and answer any questions you might have. We may also recommend a psychological assessment and therapy if needed.

Our therapy for kids is designed to help your child:

  • Understand and express their thoughts and feelings
  • Cope with difficult emotions (e.g., anger)
  • Change unhealthy habits
  • Overcome loss of motivation
  • Boost academic performance
  • Navigate bullying and other peer-related issues
  • Work through the stress of divorce and family conflict
  • Make progress towards their goals

Help your child live to their safest and fullest potential by connecting with our care team today

Professional child psychologist working with a schoolboy in a bright office. Children's mental therapy

Get started with Child & Adolescent Therapy at West Michigan Psychological Services

WMPS is a Michigan-based private practice with offices in Holland, Norton Shores, and Grand Haven, Michigan. Our psychologists and therapists are passionate about helping kids, adults, and families overcome life’s challenges through evidence-based care. Each service is entirely confidential and individually tailored to your needs.