Children are fascinating and impressive with their unique “take” on the world. Often they are charming and engaging and seem to not have a care in the world. For some children though, managing day-to-day stressors and even more complicated life events like the onset of illness or environmental change can throw them into a tailspin. When children have difficulty coping with stress and sadness or managing their behavior, a therapist can be very helpful in sorting out their troubles.
A therapist is a doctor who specializes in helping people to manage their emotions and thereby improve the quality of their life. A therapist is different from a psychiatrist in that this approach to treatment does not involve prescribing medication. It is not uncommon however for therapists to work closely with a child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist on starting and managing a child on medication should it be deemed necessary.
Gastrointestinal disorders in children significantly impact a child’s health as well as sense of physical and emotional well-being. These illnesses can create stress in the family environment as well. These conditions frequently cause pain and embarrassing symptoms that can lead to social withdrawal and school avoidance. Due to the considerable toll these conditions can take on a developing child or adolescent, it is helpful to have a specialist on your team who can address stress and pain management from a developmental/behavioral context.
Additionally, there are several psychological illnesses that can cause gastrointestinal problems for the patient. Eating Disorders and Elimination Disorders can create physical problems that often require adjunct treatment by a gastrointestinal physician.
In your first visit with a therapist, time is usually spent collecting background information about stress or problems in your life. The reason we focus on this is to try to find ways to alleviate some of your stress. I usually like to meet with parents and their children together in order to gather as much information as possible.
The approaches I use in my treatment are referred to as “cognitive behavioral”. This means that I help children to see how their thoughts or beliefs about a situation affect their emotions. Emotions are frequently then the driving force behind their behavior or attitudes they express. Additionally, I meet with family members who I encourage to be part of their child’s support system. Throughout childhood and adolescence, parents are the single most important people in a child’s life.
I look forward to the opportunity to work with the children and families of Children’s Hospital Pediatric Gastroenterology’s practice. Please feel free to inquire about my services at your next office visit.
Common referral concerns include:
Adjustment to illness
School attendance concerns
Social skill deficits
Compliance problems with medical regimines