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Just like adults, children can benefit greatly from therapy. Help is available.

What does a child psychologist do?

A child psychologist is a licensed professional who has knowledge and experience with childhood psychological, emotional and behavioural challenges. Consequently, they help children from early childhood to adolescence cope with issues such as anxiety, depression, behavioural problems, and school-related difficulties. By providing a safe place for the child to express themselves, child psychologists use therapeutic techniques to promote the child’s well-being and development.

Child psychologists offer one on one therapy and counselling in addition to working with families and parents. Additionally, they collaborate with schools to create healthy environments for child development. At Lavendla, we have experienced child psychologists who can help.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk


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What are the signs that a child is unwell?

Identifying signs that a child may be unwell is crucial to providing the right support. Importantly, children often show subtle changes in behaviour and emotional expression when dealing with psychological difficulties. Here is a summary of signs to look out for:

Behaviour

  • Mood swings: Rapid changes in mood.
  • Irritability or aggressiveness: Acting out behaviours.
  • Social withdrawal: Loss of interest in friends and activities.

Emotional signs

  • Anxiety or worry: Excessive worrying about various things.
  • Sadness or depression: Prolonged sadness or loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Low self-esteem: Feelings of worthlessness.

School and concentration

  • Difficulty concentrating: Difficulty focusing on school work.
  • Falling grades: Sudden drop in school performance.

Physical signs

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits: Irregular or changing habits.
  • Unexplained physical symptoms: Headaches or stomachaches with no clear cause.

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Social signs

  • Problems with peers: Difficulty maintaining friendships.
  • Avoidance of social activities: Reluctance to participate in group activities.

Risk behaviours

  • Risk-taking: Dangerous activities without thinking of consequences.
  • Substance abuse: Use of drugs or alcohol.

Thoughts and feelings

  • Hopelessness: Negative statements about the future.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide: Such statements should be taken very seriously.

If these signs are observed, start by talking to the child and acknowledging their feelings. Seek professional help from a child psychologist if necessary. In a crisis, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

What can I do if my child is unwell?

Dealing with situations where your child is unwell can be challenging and emotionally demanding. It is important to approach the situation with understanding, patience and support. Here are some steps you can take to help your child:

  • Listen and validate: Start by listening to your child without judgment. Validate their feelings to show that you take them seriously.
  • Seek professional help: Do not hesitate to contact a psychologist or therapist if your child continues to feel bad or unwell.
  • Open communication: Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and reassure them that you are always there to listen.
  • Joint activities: Spend time together doing activities that strengthen your bond and provide positive experiences.
  • Healthy lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise and good sleep are important for mental health.
  • Pay attention: Notice changes in behaviour or mood and get help if you see signs that your child needs more support.
  • Create a safety network: Make sure your child knows who they can turn to besides you, for example other family members or teachers.

Remember, you are not alone. Support is available and together we make the difficult easier.


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Treatment with a child psychologist

Seeking help from a child psychologist is an important step when a child is experiencing mental health difficulties. Different services are available depending on the age of the child. Kid’s help phone (Resources Around Me – Kids Help Phone) has a database of children and youth mental health resources that is searchable by location.

Treatment with a child psychologist is adapted to the child’s individual needs and may include methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy, play therapy, family therapy and group therapy. The aim is to improve the child’s emotional well-being and develop coping strategies. The child psychologist works closely with the child and his or her family. Additionally, they may also work with the school, to create a safe environment where the child can learn to manage emotions and behaviours effectively.

However, it is important to remember that each child is unique, so treatment may vary. Working with a child psychologist can give your child the tools they need to manage their emotions and behaviours in a healthy way.


12 frequently asked questions about child psychologists

What is a child psychologist?

A child psychologist is a licensed professional with knowledge and experience in promoting the well-being and mental health of children and parents.

What does a child psychologist do?

Child psychologists offer therapy and counselling but also work with families, parents and schools to help support children’s mental health.

What are the signs that a child is not well?

There are several signs that a child is not doing well, including engaging in risky behaviours, difficulties engaging with peers, changes in sleep or eating patterns, and feelings of persistent worry.

My child is unwell, what should I do?

Dealing with situations where your child is unwell can be challenging and emotionally demanding. It is important to approach the situation with understanding, patience and support. If necessary, you can seek professional help.

I am having difficulties in my parenting, how can I get help?

Child psychologists also work with parents to provide parental support. If you are having difficulties, you can seek professional help to get more support.

Can children receive psychological treatment?

It is possible for children to receive psychological treatment, but it is adapted to the child’s age and the problems that need to be addressed. Common methods are talk therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based therapy that helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to ill health.

How can young people get help?

Children can text or call Kid’s Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) 24/7 for support. They also have a list of local youth mental health supports listed on their website. At Lavendla, we also have experienced psychologists who can help.

Can I see a child psychologist privately?

It is possible to see a child psychologist privately. At Lavendla we have several psychologists who have extensive experience working with children and young people.

How long is a treatment?

The treatment is adapted to the concerns the child or parent have. It can be anything from a few sessions to a longer treatment over a couple of years.

Can I see a child psychologist online?

It is possible to receive treatment online via video. We have several child psychologists who work digitally at Lavendla.

Where can I go if I or my child needs help from a child psychologist?

Child psychologists are usually available through referral from a family doctor or local clinic. At Lavendla we have experienced child psychologists who can also help.

How does treatment with a child psychologist work?

Seeking help from a child psychologist is an important step when a child is experiencing mental health difficulties or if you are having difficulties as a parent. Here is a brief overview of what treatment can look like:

1. Initial Assessment

An initial consultation involves the psychologist assessing needs through conversations with the child and parents.

2. Treatment plan

An individualized plan is developed based on the child’s specific situation and needs. Common approaches include play therapy for younger children, where play is used as a tool for expression and processing. Talk therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are often used for older children, which focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours. Other methods such as family therapy can also be helpful.

3. Parental counselling

Parents receive guidance and support to better help their child at home.

4. Monitoring and adjustment

The treatment plan is continuously evaluated and adjusted as needed to ensure the best possible outcome.

A first step in seeking help

It is important to remember that each child is unique, and therefore treatment may vary. Working together with a child psychologist can give you and your child the tools needed to manage emotions and behaviours in a healthy way. At Lavendla, we have child psychologists who can help make the difficult easier.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.