Therapy for Children at Athena Care
At Athena we offer comprehensive treatment services which focus on helping your child achieve their maximum potential.
We have a competent and professional staff of Psychologists and Counselors with years of experience dealing with complex family issues.
Services are provided in a safe and confidential atmosphere and the most reassuring part of your experience is knowing that you are getting help for your child and your family.
A Clean, Fun, & Safe Environment
We treat you and your family the way we would want to be treated. We have a fun play room and private family lobby. We also have a therapy dog named Whittan. We will do everything possible to put you and your child at ease.
Athena has supportive well-trained counselors who specialize in parenting issues and therapy that is geared toward children, as well as parents. We will help your family cope with complex family issues of depression, anxiety, behavior problems, divorce or abuse.
Academic and Psychological Testing
Academic and Psychological testing are often necessary when your child is struggling in the school environment. Poor academic performance and behavioral problems can be caused by a wide range of things including depression, unusually high or low abilities, attention problems, differing social development, and undiagnosed medical conditions. Testing can help diagnose the problem so that it can be treated or more aptly dealt with in the classroom environment. Additionally, treatments and interventions can be focused to enhance your child’s particular strengths and improve any areas of weakness.
Our Approach To Assessment
At Athena, we use the latest in testing and diagnostic procedures. We believe in a thorough assessment that includes information from all sources (the child, parents, teachers, and doctors). We incorporate testing, observational play, and talk directly to the child getting his/her input about their experiences.
Each family leaves the assessment process with a specific plan of action and a wealth of resources. Recommendations are comprehensive. We promise, if you feel lost and without answers you will not leave our office feeling the same. You will feel like there is a sense of direction and hope.
The goal is to offer your child the best future possible. We believe that knowledge is power and understanding the unique qualities of your child will help you in providing the best future for him or her.
Athena Consulting offers assessments for all ages. You have heard about the importance of early diagnosis. This is true. Accurate identification of Autism Spectrum issues can start as early as 18 months. Assessments should occur every 3-5 years depending on age.
ADHD and Learning Disorders are more easily diagnosed in early school years but more severe cases of ADHD will need to be identified as early as age 5.
The Autism Spectrum includes such diagnostic categories as Asperger’s, Autism, “High Functioning” Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Diagnosis has now moved away from these terms as they have in many ways become antiquated.
Now, our Assessments focus on the unique functioning of your Child’s brain and how they interact with their peers, family, and friends in all settings. Children on the spectrum are all individuals with their own talents and abilities. They should be treated as such.
Children on the spectrum often struggle with social difficulties, sensory issues, communication difficulties, and transition times between activities. They may obsess on particular games or activities.
With appropriate intervention, (the earlier the better as indicated by research) children on the spectrum grow to healthy adults with jobs, families, and friends. They can lead normal and happy lives.
ADHD is a combination of inattention and/or hyperactivity that becomes problematic for children to a degree that it obstructs behavior and learning. It is our belief and the recommendation of the APA, that no child should ever be treated with medication who has not undergone thorough diagnostic assessment and monitoring. Not all children with ADHD require medications. ADHD can be measured objectively and requires more than just a checklist.
Learning can be affected by any of the conditions mentioned in this brochure. The longer any child struggles with ADHD, Spectrum Disorders, or Mood Problems his/her learning can be delayed. There are also broad ranges of learning issues that can occur on their own. We are able to pinpoint the issue and determine the solutions for intervention at school and home.
Depression, Anxiety, & Bipolar
Mood disorders can affect behavior and learning. They can also co-occur with the other conditions outlined in this brochure. Again, medications are always a last resort. In particular, a diagnosis of childhood Bipolar Disorder can open the doorway to a plethora of medications that have never been tested on children. Such a diagnosis should never be made casually and testing is always warranted before treatment.
Children & Mental Health
Children’s most prevalent mental disorders are depression, ADHD, anxiety, and behavioral problems. Some of these conditions frequently coexist. Depression, substance abuse, and suicide are significant issues for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old.1
One in six American children between the ages of 6 and 17 have a treatable mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety issues, or ADHD, according to an analysis in a 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health data.2 Yet, almost half of children with these illnesses did not obtain counseling or treatment from a mental health specialist such as a clinical social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on everyone’s mental health, particularly children. Compared to emergency department visits in 2019, the number of mental health-related emergency department visits for children aged 5 to 11 increased by 24% and for those aged 12 to 17 by 31% from March to October 2020, according to the CDC.3
Childhood mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders can result in persistent issues that may harm children, families, and communities. The earlier you address mental health issues, the less trouble kids have at home, at school, and in developing relationships. Furthermore, it can support healthy development into adulthood.4
Signs Your Child Might Need Therapy
Even while occasional outbursts and tantrums are common among kids, unexpected or persistent changes in a child’s behavior may call for a consultation with a mental health specialist.5
A child might require therapy if they exhibit one or more of the following:
- repetitive displays of resistant or reluctant behavior
- problems in various areas of life, such as family, friendships, or school
- extreme worry
- constant sadness
- low energy
- inability to concentrate
- changes in appetite
- sudden change or disinterest in previously loved hobbies or activities
- thoughts of self-harm
- social withdrawal
- changes in sleep patterns
- lack of personal hygiene
- physical complaints without cause that do not respond to treatment
Behaviors that point to the need for a mental health professional visit in younger children could be harder to identify. However, they might consist of:
- unhealthy attachment
- separation anxiety
- extreme fearfulness
- easily agitated
What Can Therapy for Children Help With
Mental health therapists for children are trained to help with a wide range of issues, including but not limited to the following:6
- problems at home
- problems at school
- health issues
Therapy for children can also help with thoughts and feelings associated with:
- low self-esteem
Furthermore, they can help children and adolescents with conditions like:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- eating disorders
- trauma-related disorders
What Happens in Therapy for Kids?
The therapist will first meet with you and your child, conversing and listening—this aids in their learning more about your child and the issue. Your therapist will then explain how they can help. Finally, your child will attend more therapy sessions.
During children’s counseling, your child may:
- Talk: Talking about your feelings is healthy. Children perform their best when expressing their emotions verbally rather than physically. In addition, children are more receptive to learning when someone listens and understands how they feel.
- Do activities: Therapists use activities to educate about emotions and coping mechanisms. Kids may play games or draw as a means of learning. In addition, therapists may teach mindfulness and deep breathing to reduce stress.
- Practice new skills: Therapists assist children in applying what they learn. Children may participate in games where they must wait their turn, exercise self-control, be patient, listen, share, try again, or accept defeat.
- Solve problems: Therapists inquire about the impact of difficulties on older children and teenagers at home and school. Then, they discuss potential solutions to these issues.
Types of Therapy for Children
There is little data on which type of therapy is most effective for treating each childhood mental disorder. Still, approaches using behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy techniques are more likely to reduce symptoms of the most prevalent childhood conditions, such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression.
According to the existing scientific evidence, the following types of therapy appear to be effective for various issues:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT combines mindfulness skills with the practice of self-acceptance, helping people learn to accept the negative emotions they have about difficult situations and commit to facing and finding solutions to those problems.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT enables individuals to recognize and alter harmful thought patterns to react more skillfully to challenging circumstances. Children with a disruptive behavior disorder, depression, anxiety, or PTSD benefit from CBT particularly well.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is a kind of cognitive behavioral therapy for kids who engage in self-destructive activities and who struggle to control their emotions.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is frequently used to assist people with trauma-related symptoms to alter how their brains retain traumatic memories. During a therapy session, the patient experiences bilateral stimulation (seeing, hearing, or feeling something alternately on one’s left and right sides of the body) while thinking about a particularly traumatic event.
- Family Systems Therapy: This evidence-based family therapy aids individuals in finding solutions to issues that affect their families as a whole. The therapist helps family members develop better communication, coping, and conflict-resolution skills by examining the reciprocal relationship between individual behavior and the family.
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): IPT aims to lessen distress by enhancing social functioning and interpersonal interactions. Since interpersonal issues are frequently present in mental health disorders and better connections can help provide support during the treatment process, IPT focuses on changing relationship patterns rather than symptoms related to mood.
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT): PCIT treats children ages 2 to 7 experiencing behavioral, emotional, and interpersonal issues. It’s particularly effective for ADHD and disruptive behavior disorders. Parents use what they’ve learned to improve their relationships with their children, encourage their good habits, and curb their bad ones.
- Psychodynamic Therapy: To reduce symptoms and enhance a patient’s quality of life, psychodynamic therapy emphasizes self-reflection, self-examination, and patient-therapist interaction.
What To Look For in a Children’s Therapist?
Do you need a social worker for your child? A psychiatrist? A therapist? Or a combination of all of the above? Each of these counselors has a unique background and offers various services.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) handle people’s needs specifically within the framework of marriage, relationship, and family systems, in contrast to a clinical mental health counselor. To obtain your LMFT and work as a children’s therapist in Tennessee, one must complete their master’s or doctorate in addition to two years of post-degree clinical experience.7 This experience includes a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practice, with 200 hours directly supervised by a Board-approved supervisor.
- Education, training, license, and years of experience
- Does the child therapist have a Ph.D., Psy.D., or a master’s degree?
- What experience and training does the therapist have dealing with kids and teens?
- Which mental health issues have they primarily treated?
- How long have they been practicing?
- Specialties and services offered
- Which types of therapy do they specialize in?
- Treatment methods and philosophies
- Which therapy techniques do they favor?
- Which insurance companies do they work with?
- What are their office hours, prices, and how long do sessions last?
How Much is Therapy for Children?
The cost of therapy varies based on the location, the type of therapy, the specialty, the length of treatment, insurance coverage, and the credentials and reputation of the child therapist. The average price range is $65 to $200. Some therapists may bill up to $250 for each appointment.
Many major insurance companies may be able to cover the cost of therapy for children. Copays for those with insurance coverage for therapy typically range from $10 to $50.
- “Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 3 June 2022, www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html.
- Devitt, Michael. “Study: One in Six U.S. Children Has a Mental Illness.” AAFP.Org, American Academy of Family Physicians, 18 Mar. 2019, www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20190318childmentalillness.html.
- Leeb, Rebecca T., et al. “Mental Health–Related Emergency Department Visits Among Children Aged <18 Years During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, January 1–October 17, 2020.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 69, no. 45, 2020, pp. 1675–80. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6945a3.
- “Behavior Therapy for Behavior or Conduct Problems | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 23 Sept. 2021, www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/parent-behavior-therapy.html.
- Tee-Melegrito, Rachel Ann. “6 of the Best Online Therapy Programs for Kids in 2022.” Medical News Today, Healthline Media UK Ltd, 21 Dec. 2021, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/therapy-for-kids-a-guide#explaining-therapy-to-a-child.
- Cullinan, Colleen C., PhD. “Taking Your Child to a Therapist (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth.” KidsHealth.Org, The Nemours Foundation, kidshealth.org/en/parents/finding-therapist.html. Accessed 30 June 2022.
- “Tennessee State Resources.” American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, www.aamft.org/Advocacy/State_Resources/Tennessee.aspx. Accessed 1 July 2022.