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Children & Youth

paediatric psychotherapy play-based approach.

Therapy for Children

When providing paediatric psychotherapy, its necessary to use specific developmentally-appropriate techniques. Traditional “talk therapy” which is often used in adult sessions simply isn’t suitable when working with kids. The classic image of a person laying on a couch while the therapist sits off to one side, quietly taking notes is not the most effective method of reaching a child. First off, kids generally will not sit still for long. They easily become bored and often talking is not their preferred form of communication. Secondly, most kids do not have an extensive past. Kids live out and process their past and present simultaneously, and in the moment. Often occuring very fluidly throughout their day. Kids are often able to clearly communicate and express what they are living through. However this may not always be in ways adults typically understand and sometimes not using the English language. 

Working with a Child Therapist

Our Child Therapist uses a wide variety of techniques and models, some geared specifically for children and only used with children. Whereas others are more standardized therapeutic techniques used across all age groups. Therapists including Registered Social Workers often use creative means to connect with and understand children. As well as assist children in processing and moving through their healing journey. For example, a parent may play with their children whereas a Registered Social Worker, trained to work with children will encourage the child to lead the play, while analyzing the play (play direction, theme, symbolism, etc.). Further, whether the therapist is a registered play therapist or a child therapist supplementing traditional therapy methods with play, the child will be able to commence processing their past in a safe, controlled, creative and engaging way.
The awesome part of therapy, compared to going to a dentist or visiting the paediatrician – most kids will want to come back.

Getting started

When meeting with your Registered Social Worker it is important that you as the caregiver like, get along with and respect the therapist. If the people closest to the child are not in tune with the Social Worker then the child will pick up on this and the sessions will not be productive. Ask the child do they like the person? Do they want to come back? Sometimes a child warming up to someone can take a little while. Generally kids enjoy being in charge and make their own choices and if they feel comfortable they will say so. Lastly, kids are really smart….they will pick up on the person who will help them the most!

child therapist

Shannon Burton, Registered Paediatric Social Worker works solely with children, youth, and families. Sessions range from working with the child individually, or with the parents, or with the parents on their own. Have a question about Paediatric Psychotherapy, book a FREE consult or email

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