Child and Adolescent Counseling
We provide child and adolescent counseling in Baton Rouge. Children and teens are often exposed to significant life challenges: divorce, bullying, and relationship problems with family and friends. Self esteem issues and feelings of sadness, anger or guilt can be difficult for a child or adolescent to process and verbalize. Some have difficulty finding words to express complex emotions and others may avoid sharing these feelings to protect members of the family or because the child feels responsible for the event.
In times of emotional turmoil, children and teens may have changes in behavior. If your child is showing signs or patterns of withdrawal, irritability, emotional outbursts, changes in sleeping or eating, has unfounded physical complaints, or reduced ability to function in school or home setting, they may benefit from therapy and counseling. According to Mental Health of America “as many as one in eight teens and one in 33 children have clinical depression.” In addition to concerns about a child or teens’ current mental health are the critical life lessons a child is learning about how to navigate relationships and cope with life’s disappointments. Therapy and counseling, with the involvement and cooperation of a parent, provides children and teens an opportunity to explore problems, build communication skills, and improve emotional well-being.
Child and Adolescent Counseling for Bullying
Wikipedia defines bullying as, “the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.”
Baton Rouge Counseling offers child and adolescent counseling for bullying in Baton Rouge. We know that bullying can be devastating to a child or adolescent, no matter what age. It chips away at their self-esteem and can negatively affect their development and social skills. If your child has been bullied and has difficulty recovering from the effects, he or she may need counseling. A relatively new form of bullying is “cyber-bullying” where a person is bullied through electronic means such as texting, Internet, Facebook, instant messaging or E-Mail. Some children, particularly males and older kids, will not tell their parents or teachers about being bullied, therefore it is important for adults to be aware and tuned in to possible warning signs of bullying.
Warning Signs of Possible Bullying:
- Returns home with missing, damaged, or torn pieces of clothing or other belongings
- Appears fearful about going to school, riding the bus, or walking to and from school
- Turns up with unexplained scratches, bruises, or cuts
- Seems to be teary-eyed, moody, depressed, or preoccupied when coming home from school
- Takes a long circuitous route when walking to or from their school (i.e., avoiding a bully)
- Loses interest and motivation for school work or school performance suddenly drops
- Has a loss of appetite or overeats to cope with feelings
- Has frequent complains physical ailments such as stomachaches or headaches
- Is having difficulty with sleep or having recurrent nightmares
- Seems anxious and suffers from low self-esteem
- Has very few friends, if any, with whom they spend time
If you suspect that your child is being bullied, ask them questions about school and their friends and find out if they are being picked on or teased. Tell them you are there to help. If necessary, contact the school or teachers. If bullying is happening, contact the school guidance counselor or principal. If you think your child may need counseling, contact Baton Rouge Counseling at (225) 293-2913 to schedule an appointment.
Child and Adolescent Counseling for Abuse & Trauma
Baton Rouge Counseling is the place to turn for counseling and therapy if your child or teen has been affected by abuse or trauma. We offer recovery and hope for young people and their families. Our skilled and highly compassionate therapists help children cope with and heal from abuse and traumatic occurrences utilizing a variety of individualized best-practice approaches. Parents, family members, and other caregivers can be included in the therapeutic process. Adolescents and children aged 12 and older are treated at Baton Rouge Counseling in a friendly, healing environment. We help kids overcome a range of behaviors and issues that often develop following abuse or a traumatic event, including:
- Distorted or poor self-image
- Unusual aggression or anger outbursts
- Fear, anxiety, or irritability
- Changes sleep habits or appetite and eating habits
- Sadness or depression
- Difficulties in school, academic or behavioral
- Bed wetting
- Increased conflict with authority figures
- Inappropriate sexualized behavior
- Difficulty focusing, concentrating, and completing tasks
- Fire setting
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Suicidal thinking or self-injurious behaviors
Child and Adolescent Counseling for Divorce & Blended Families
For children and adolescents, their parents divorce is a confusing, painful, and sometimes terrifying reality. Divorce essentially means the loss of their home as they knew it. Disruptive changes are usually involved such as having to relocate and change schools, neighborhoods and friends. It may also involve coping with parents’ unpleasant emotions toward each another.
Divorce can be disruptive and traumatic for all parties. For children and adolescents this can be particularly intense and involve feelings of: hurt, anger, insecurity, confusion, depression. They may also feel divided in their feelings and loyalties toward each parent. Well-meaning parents, consumed with their own grief and circumstances sometimes respond by becoming overly permissive in an attempt to compensate for difficulties their children are experiencing. Some children take on a parental role in the absence of the other parent. Others may begin to have problems with grades, or acting out at home or school.
Children and adolescents cope best when they know mom and dad will still be and act like their parents and will continue to love, support, and protect them, set consistent rules, and remain in their life. Kids do best when parents cooperate on their behalf. It is very stressful when parents use the children to act out their frustrations, i.e., custody battles, and “bad mouthing” the other parent. With the passing of time as they adapt, kids’ painful feelings and negative reactions will usually diminish.
Blended families and step families also present unique challenges for children and parents. Some kids may resist the changes, and it’s easy for the parents to become frustrated when the new family doesn’t function as they expect it to.
If your child or adolescent is experiencing difficulties adjusting to divorce, Baton Rouge Counseling is here to help. For child and adolescent counseling Baton Rouge, call (225) 293-2913 to schedule an appointment.
Child and Adolescent Counseling for Grief
Children and adolescents handle grief differently than adults do. Grief responses also vary according to the family’s culture, background and spiritual orientation. We provide counseling to children and adolescents who have experienced death or loss of a family member or close friend. We will work with your child to:
- Understand and process death in an age-appropriate way
- Understand and express and cope with the range of emotions of grief
- Understand they aren’t at fault or responsible for the death
- Deal with common fears about death and dying
For child or adolescent counseling for grief in Baton Rouge, please call Baton Rouge Counseling at (225) 293-2913 to schedule an appointment.
Child and Adolescent Counseling for Anxiety and Depression
Although they are often considered to be adult disorders, anxiety and depression are common among adolescents and children and can seriously affect social development, academic performance, and family life. They can be difficult to treat and, especially when they occur together, tend to be overlooked. It is important to do age-appropriate interventions for childhood anxiety and depression, including cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the child identify and modify certain thinking patterns associated with feelings of anxiety and depression, leading to significant reduction in symptoms usually in a brief period of time. Kids usually get over a bad event in a few days. When symptoms persist for 2 weeks or longer, it is time to seek professional help. Symptoms of child and adolescent anxiety and depression often include (but are not necessarily limited to):
- Frequent physical complaints
- Refusal to attend school
- Difficulty being away from parents
- Constant preoccupation with fear or worry
- Nighttime fears or insomnia
- Repetitive behaviors or thoughts
- Persistent negative thoughts about themselves (self criticism or self hatred), future, and ongoing life events
- Loss of energy
- Loss of interest in friends or pleasurable activities
- Social withdrawal – spending too much time alone
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Frequent crying spells
- Threats of self-harm or suicide
- Turning to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate
If your child is experiencing the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, please contact Baton Rouge Counseling at (225) 293-2913 to schedule an appointment with a counselor.
Child and Adolescent Counseling for Behavior Problems
Baton Rouge Counseling offers child and adolescent counseling for various behavior problems that may arise, including the following:
- Defiance at home or school
- Bullying other children
- Frequent displays of anger or rage
- Fire setting and vandalism
- Theft and other crimes
- Self-injuring behaviors (Cutting or branding)
- Cigarette Smoking or Substance Abuse
- Sneaking out of the house
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
- Internet/Telephone abuse
If your child has one or more of the above listed behavioral problems, please contact Baton Rouge Counseling at (225) 293-2913 to schedule an appointment with a counselor.
Baton Rouge CounselingTODD ATKINS, LCSW
MARY CUNNINGHAM, MA, PLPC
BATON ROUGE COUNSELING11606 Southfork Ave Suite 101
Baton Rouge,LA 70816
Phone: (225) 293-2913
Hours of Operation:
We are conveniently located just off Sherwood Forest Blvd. between Coursey and I-12