When Does My Child Need to See a Counselor?

by Yvonne Haase, LMHC

Parents often ask me, “How do I know if my child needs counseling?” My response to them is usually, “Most children would benefit from having an impartial person to speak to in their lives.” Children want to protect their parents’ feelings and usually will not share what is upsetting to them, especially if it involves family issues. You as the parent are the best judge of your child’s behavior. Parents often bring their child in when they notice changes in their child’s personality or behaviors.

Sometimes the need for counseling is obvious: a divorce, a new marriage, a death in the family, or there is a history of family violence or drug/alcohol addiction. These life stressors have an impact on your child; however, parents may not recognize this if the child is quiet, does not show signs of acting out, and continues to state they are “fine”. It is often easier for parents emotionally to believe that their children are handling these situations well.

Signs that your child would benefit from counseling:


  • Change in appetite, eating more or
    less than normal
  • Change in sleep patterns, nightmares,
  • sleeping more or less than normal
  • Bed wetting or soiling pants once
    completely potty trained
  • Drop in school grades
  • Dramatic change in friends or decreased
    interest in friends
  • Talk of suicide or fascination with
  • Cuts or burn marks on the skin
  • Withdrawn
  • Acting out
  • Fits of crying or anger

It is imperative as parents that we be proactive in our child’s health. We don’t hesitate to take our child to their pediatrician when we notice that a cough has gone on for too long or a high fever is present. Why wait when we notice such changes to their personality? Being proactive shortens the therapeutic process and lessens the trauma for the child.

Counseling for children is typically short term. Once the child has developed a relationship with their therapist, they usually feel comfortable returning when other life transitions come up.

Yvonne Haase, LMHC is a psychotherapist, qualified parenting coordinator and a member of the Florida Adoption Council. She specializes in children, families and couples. She also does adoption counseling, home studies and counseling for parents going through divorce. Haase is a proud member of the International Holistic Center (IHC) integrative team. IHC is a boutique center that fuses conventional and nonconventional therapies to address problems at the core, not just the symptoms. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 954-903-9426 or visit IHCHealth- Fusion.com. Hear Haase co-host “Dr. King’s Health Fusion Hour” the third Thursday of the month at Noon on 1470 am or at IHC’s website.

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