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What is Child Therapy?

The word "therapy" may seem very dramatic or scary. Some people associate it with very poorly individuals who are perhaps on the brink of some sort of mental breakdown. However, therapy can be extremely beneficial to anyone and is utilised as both a proactive and reactive method of treatment.

In this section we discuss why a child may require therapy and the warning signs to look for in a child who is struggling to cope psychologically.

Ciara McElhinney 18 Oct 2023 (1)_edited.

Why would a child or young person require therapy?


Personal issues are exactly that - personal. Every child is an individual and therefore copes (or does not cope) in different ways. What may seem like a trivial situation to one child could fill the another child with so much dread and anxiety that the simply cannot function. Therefore, the list of reasons why a young person may require therapy is not exhaustive, however, during our many years of experience of child therapy we are able to highlight the most common reasons:

Reasons to consider therapy


  • Low self-esteem

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Struggling to deal with parents' divorce

  • Excessive anger, worry, sadness or fear

  • Behaviour which is immature for the child's age

  • Continued school associated problems i.e bullying

  • Difficulties making / keeping friends

  • Problems eating or sleeping

  • Difficulty adjusting to family changes

  • Abuse

  • Difficulties dealing with change

  • Special Educational Needs (SEN)

  • Excessive shyness, withdrawn or poor social skills

  • Attached Depression etc

Warning signs that a young person is not coping


  • They are excessively sad

  • They have harmed themselves or someone else

  • They seem out of control / irrational

  • Their eating habits have changed

  • They have a sudden overwhelming fear for no reason

  • They are withdrawn

  • They suffer from severe mood swings

  • They repeatedly use of drugs and / or alcohol

  • They have difficulty concentrating

  • Their behaviour has drastically changed

  • They struggle to sleep (i.e. nightmares)

  • They are angry all the time

What happens in Child Therapy?


During the initial intake session, I meet with the primary carers and sometimes child to gain a thorough understanding and history of the family and the child. I evaluate the areas of concern, needs and goals, so that I can determine treatment. After listening to the family history, the child's developmental history, current behaviours and symptoms, I then suggest the treatment, therapeutic approaches and techniques that will be used to help the child. A treatment plan will be discussed at this time and specific recommendations will be made regarding therapeutic interventions, home-based interventions for parents to work on and any further evaluation or referrals which may be needed.

What can I expect in a therapy session?


For children, sessions will consist of various forms of Play, Sand Therapy and Integrative Psychotherapy, including but not limited to:-

  • Art as a therapy-the use of drawing, painting and other forms of creative expression

  • Narrative therapy-storytelling to elicit themes and emotions

  • Toys, including puppets, figurines, doll's house, etc.

  • Role plays, wood work

  • Modelling with clay and play doh

  • Music as a Therapy

Children and adolescents are often unable to use words to express themselves or to communicate emotions. They respond extremely well to being able to express themselves creatively in a safe and child-friendly setting, while learning appropriate ways to manage and communicate feelings.

Want to know more?

We try our best to provide the most comprehensive information about our services. However, as therapy is a very personal thing sometimes there are questions, and we welcome them!

If you would like to know more about anything about what we do or how we could help your child, then we woud be more than happy to talk.

Ciara McElhinney 18 Oct 2023 (5)_edited_

What is Child Therapy?

In this section we discuss why a child may require therapy and the warning signs to look for in a child who is struggling to cope.

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Meet the Therapist

Ciara Mc Elhinney, has over 16 years experience and specialises in working with children and young people.

Ciara McElhinney 18 Oct 2025_edited_edit

Frequently Asked Questions

We've put together a list of the more common questions we get asked. If it's not in this list, please get in touch and ask.

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