Children come to therapy for a variety of reasons. They may need help adjusting to overwhelming change, such as adoption, separation, divorce, moving, birth of a sibling, or death of a loved one. They may have undergone traumatic experiences, such as abuse or witnessing violence, neglect, foster or institutional care, or medical trauma.
As overwhelming change and trauma is from the point of view of the child, sometimes it is hard to realize the extent of distress that the child is feeling. Children, even babies and toddlers, may show their distress through changes in calming, eating, sleeping, or toileting. They may be wound up and aggressive, or withdrawn and constricted. Other children may have difficulty getting along with others and following rules. They may be irritable or explosive, teary, apathetic, or sad.