If you have a
or a bad
, you go to the
for help and to feel better, right? Well, sometimes kids and adults
have problems that can't be seen as easily as a broken bone or
a runny nose.
When people have troubles with their emotions, their feelings,
or the way they act, sometimes they see a
. These are people who have gone to school for special training in
the way people think and feel and know how to help people feel
The ones that see kids know a lot about kid stuff, like how kids
think, how they grow up, and how they see the world. They are all
experts who specialize in helping kids solve problems and deal with
tough situations. They do their work mainly by talking with kids
and helping them figure out what is causing the problems at school
or at home. A therapist can help kids figure stuff out so they can
Why Would a Kid Get This Kind of Help?
There are many reasons to see a therapist, psychologist, or
psychiatrist, but the biggest reason is so that you can start
feeling better. Maybe you're having trouble getting along with
your classmates, your brothers or sisters, or your mom or dad. Or
maybe you're having problems
in class, or your
and your grades aren't as good as your mom or dad think they
Other reasons to go see a therapist could be that you're
and have trouble making friends or that you feel sad, afraid, or
a lot. If your parents get
, or if someone who is close to you
, seeing a therapist is a great way to talk about your
Sometimes kids can be the victims of
, and some kids your age can even have problems
. These are all types of problems that can often get better if you
get care from a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.
What Happens There?
During an appointment, you won't be examined on a table like
you are at a typical doctor visit. You'll sit in a comfortable
chair and just talk, play games, or sometimes draw pictures. There
are no needles or shots. If you're having problems with
schoolwork, the therapist may ask you to answer some questions or
solve some puzzles. This can provide clues to how you think and
You should always feel comfortable during these visits. That
means you don't have to do anything you don't want to do or
talk about anything you don't want to talk about. On your first
visit, your mom or dad might come in with you. The three of you
could talk together about your feelings, the problem or situation,
and anything else that is bothering you. After you feel
comfortable, your mom or dad can wait for you outside.
The first visit is about understanding the problem that you need
help with and is a chance for the psychologist, therapist, or
psychiatrist to get to know you a little bit. At future visits, the
two of you can work on solving the problems. You may have regular
appointments every week, every month, or less often.
You might be asked to set goals for yourself or to keep a
notebook describing your feelings between visits. Bringing this
notebook to your appointments can help you track your progress.
You can choose to tell people that you are going to these
appointments, or you can decide not to share this information. Who
you tell, or if you tell, is your decision.
Getting Help Is No Big Deal
Some kids feel that getting this kind of help makes them weak or
means they are "crazy." But that is not true. If you need
help, seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist is the
right thing to do. Everyone has problems sometimes, and it's
smart to take charge and work them out.
W. Douglas Tynan, PhD
Date reviewed: December 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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