Child psychotherapy

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Child psychotherapy, or mental health interventions for children have developed varied approaches over the last century.[1] Two distinct historic pathways can be identified for present-day provision in Western Europe and in the United States: one through the Child Guidance Movement, the other stemming from Adult psychiatry or Psychological Medicine, which evolved a separate Child psychiatry specialism.[2]

Terms describing child-focused treatments may vary from one part of the world to another, with particular differences in the use of such terms, as "therapy", "child psychotherapy" or "child analysis".

Psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapy[edit]

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy with infants, children and adolescents is mainly delivered by people qualified specifically in psychoanalytic child psychotherapy, or by trainees under supervision from a specialist in child-focused treatment. Recent evidence,[3] covering 34 research papers (nine of which were randomized controlled trials) showed psychoanalytic psychotherapy to be particularly effective for children with the following conditions:

  • depression
  • anxiety and behavior disorders
  • personality disorders
  • learning difficulties
  • eating disorders
  • developmental issues

Furthermore, follow-up research[4] shows that in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, therapeutic improvements continue well beyond the termination of the therapy itself. This has been termed a, "sleeper effect."

In the UK, psychoanalytic psychotherapy is recommended by NICE as an evidence-based treatment for trauma from sexual abuse[5] and severe depression in adolescents[6] following the IMPACT study[7]

Evidence-based Child and adolescent psychiatry[edit]

There are various therapeutic assessments to address mental health concerns among children and adolescents. Some approaches are backed by strong scientific evidence, while some are not.[8] Some research suggests that it is the quality of the relationship with the therapist, rather than the particular form of therapeutic intervention, that is the strongest factor in helping change develop.[9]

Parent–infant psychotherapy[edit]

If the normal course of secure attachment between parent and infant is disrupted, parent–infant psychotherapy is a catch-all term to describe psychotherapies that either aim to restore this bond or to work with vulnerable parents to overcome disruption and prevent further occurrence. Examples of this kind of therapy include, "Watch, Wait, Wonder," and psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy. Many of these techniques require a three-way relationship between the parent, child, and therapist. During therapy sessions, the parent may express his or her thoughts and feelings which are based on a combination of factors including:

  1. The parent's experiences as a child
  2. The parent's expectations and hopes for the child's future
  3. The relationships the parent has with other people

The therapist's role is as an observer and an interpreter of the interaction between the infant and the parent. He might share some of his thoughts about the behavior of the child with the parent and by doing so offering the parent an alternative way of experiencing the child. This technique helps the parent to resolve issues with his or her own infancy-experiences in order to restore secure attachment with the infant. And it helps lower the risk for psychopathological developments of the child in the future.[10][11]

Group Art Therapy[edit]

Group art therapy gives the child a safe environment to access their emotions through a creative medium in the presence of a therapist.[12] This nonverbal therapeutic practice alleviates the stress that a child may feel when trying to find the words to express themselves; thus it helps rebuild social skills and gain trust in others. Studies have also found that this practice can alleviate self-harm engagement. This method of psychotherapy has been found particularly helpful for children who exhibit any of the following:[12]

  • Autism
  • Asperger's
  • Anxiety and behavior disorders

Group art therapy has eight subcategories of specific mechanisms of change. Among them are:[13]

  1. As a form of expression to reveal what's inside
  2. As a way of becoming aware of oneself
  3. a way to form a narrative of life
  4. integrative activation of the brain through experience
  5. a form of exploration and/or reflection
  6. the specifics of the art materials/techniques offered in art therapy
  7. as a form to practice and/or learn skills
  8. art therapy as an easily accessible, positive and safe intervention by the use of art materials

By bundling together these specific groups, the general groups are as follows:

  • art therapy as a form of group process
  • the therapeutic alliance in art therapy

Within this approach, three types of behaviors can be exhibited by the therapist; non-directive, directive, and eclectic.[13] Non-directive refers to a following behavior in which the therapist takes on an attitude of observing self-exploration of emotions rather than facilitation or interpretation. Directive attitudes however follow a facilitative pattern by asking specific questions to guide the clients artwork. With these two processes in mind, eclectic combines them to create a facilitative and lenient approach simultaneously and often utilizes emotion check-in's at the start of sessions, and emotion check-outs at the end of sessions.

This approach adopts various psychological elements such as psycho-educational, mindfulness, psychoanalysis, and cognitive analytic theories. This article sought to analyze this methods effectiveness on a broad spectrum, including the following:[14]

  • traumatic events (PTSD)
  • who have educational needs or disabilities
  • children with medical conditions
  • children with none of the former
  • juvenile offenders

Art therapy can be implemented as a holistic therapeutic practice for child cancer patients as well(effecting 1 in 285 children in the US;15,980 children each year).[15] Given the alleviating effects that are addressed by this method, children were better able to discuss their needs and emotions to their family members and healthcare team. The results of this study conveyed that art therapy lead to improved emotional and mental well-being and improved communication skills.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy(PCIT)[edit]

This approach is meant to assist parents whom have children ages 2–7 years old who are prone to disruptive behaviors and emotional difficulties.[16] Parent-Child therapy utilizing two stages, each possessing their own goals and characteristics to create this approach. Beginning with child-directed interaction(CDI), parents learn skills such as praise, verbal reflection, imitation, behavioral description, and enjoyment, to achieve the goal of warm and secure parenting styles. Parent-Directed interaction (PDI), the second phase, seeks to decrease the original disruptive behaviors exhibited by the child. Both phases are designed to be coached by the therapist via another room while the parent interacts with their child. This review found that certain cultural values may impede or contribute to the progress of this approach.

List of therapies for children reviewed in empirical studies[edit]

  • Active Analytic Psychotherapy
  • Activity Group Therapy
  • Adaptational Psychodynamics
  • Adaptive Psychotherapy
  • Adlerian Psychotherapy
  • Adlerian Group Psychotherapy
  • Actualizing Therapy
  • Ajase Complex
  • The Alexander Technique
  • Allo-Centered Psychotherapy
  • Analytical Psychology
  • Anti-Expectation Psychotherapy Techniques
  • Anxiety Management Training
  • Arica Group Process
  • Art Therapy
  • Assertion-Structured Therapy
  • Assertive Behavior Therapy
  • Attachment Therapy
  • Attack Therapy
  • Attitude Therapy
  • Autogenic Therapy
  • Autogenic Training
  • Aversion Therapy
  • Behavioral Family Therapy
  • Behavior Modification
  • Behavioral Problem Solving
  • Bell's Family Group Therapy
  • Bereavement Counseling
  • Bibliotherapy
  • Biocentric Therapy
  • Bioenergetic Analysis
  • Bio-Energetic Group Therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Bio Scream Psychotherapy
  • Body Energy Therapy
  • Bowen Family Therapy
  • Breathing Therapy
  • Brief Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Brief Therapy
  • Broad Spectrum Behavior Therapy
  • Buddhist Insight Meditation
  • Burn-Out Prevention
  • C1C2 project Psychotherapy
  • Cash’s Body Image Therapy, plus Virtual Reality for Anorexia Nervosa
  • Catalyst Therapy
  • Cathartic-Meditative Therapy,
  • Child-Centered Therapy
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy
  • Christian Psychotherapy
  • Client-Centered Therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy (CBASP)
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy
  • Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET)
  • Communication Therapy
  • Companionship Therapy Model
  • Comprehensive Relaxation Training
  • Computer Therapy
  • Conditioned Reflex Therapy
  • Confrontation in Psychotherapy
  • Confrontation Problem-solving Therapy
  • Contextual Therapy
  • Contextual Therapy of Phobic Behavior
  • Cooking as Therapy
  • Coping Skills Training
  • Correctional Counseling
  • Correspondence Therapy
  • Co-therapy
  • Covert Conditioning
  • Covert Modeling
  • Creative Aggression Therapy
  • Crisis Family Therapy
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Crisis Management
  • Culturalist Therapy
  • Comprehensive Family Therapy
  • Conjoint Family Counseling
  • Dance Therapy
  • Dance/Movement Therapy
  • The Deep Psychobiology of Psychotherapy
  • Developmental Dance-Movement Therapy
  • Depth Therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Dialogue Psychotherapy
  • Direct Decision Therapy
  • Direct Psychoanalysis
  • Directive Psychotherapy
  • Divorce therapy
  • Dolphin-Child Therapy
  • Drama Therapy
  • Dynamic Therapy
  • Dynamic Cognitive Therapy
  • Dynamic Empathy Training
  • Dynamically Oriented Brief Psychotherapy
  • Eclectic Psychotherapy
  • Eidetic Therapy
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
  • Emotional Common Sense* E-mail Therapy
  • Encouragement Therapy
  • Encounter Therapy
  • Enneagram
  • Eriksonian Therapy
  • Exaggeration Therapy
  • Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy
  • Existential Group Psychotherapy
  • Existential Therapy
  • Experiential Analysis
  • Experiential Focusing and Psychotherapy
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Expressive Therapy
  • Family Context Therapy
  • Family Crisis Therapy
  • Family Psychotherapy
  • Feeling Therapy
  • Feminist Psychotherapy
  • Filial Therapy
  • Fischet-Hoffman Process
  • Fixed Role Therapy
  • Flooding
  • Focusing
  • Folk Healing
  • Frommian Influence
  • Future Oriented Psychotherapy
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Gestalt Movement Therapy
  • Gestalt Synergy
  • Goal- Directed Psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Group Art Therapy
  • Group-Analytic Psychotherapy
  • Growth Therapy
  • Guided Fantasy in Psychotherapy
  • Guided Group Interaction
  • Guided imagery
  • Healing the Divided Self
  • Holistic Counseling
  • Holistic Education
  • Horneyian Therapy
  • Horticultural Therapy
  • Hypnoanalysis
  • Hypnointrospection
  • Hypnosymbolic Psychotherapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Immediate Therapy
  • Impasse/Priority Therapy
  • Implosive Therapy
  • Indirect Hypnotic Therapy
  • Information Feedback
  • lnsight Psychotherapy
  • Instigation Therapy
  • Integrated Psychiatric Treatment
  • Integration Therapy
  • Integrative Psychotherapy
  • Integrity Group Process
  • Intense Feeling Therapy
  • Intensive Journal
  • Intensive psychotherapy
  • Interactional psychotherapy
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Interpersonal Process Recall
  • Jungian Analysis
  • Jungian Dance Therapy
  • Jungian Group psychotherapy
  • Jungian psychoanalysis
  • Kinetic psychotherapy
  • Kleinian Techniques
  • Learning Theory Therapy
  • Learning-Based Client-Centered Therapy
  • Life Skills Counseling
  • Life Skills Training
  • Living Therapy
  • Logotherapy
  • Lomi Body Work
  • Mainstreaming
  • Marathon Group Therapy
  • Mandala Therapy
  • Matrix Therapy and Past Life Regression
  • Meditative Therapy
  • Meeting Psychotherapy
  • Meta-group
  • Metaphor Therapy
  • Megavitamin Therapy
  • Mirror Image Therapy
  • Modern Psychoanalysis
  • Morita Therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
  • Multidisciplinary Group Therapy
  • Multimodal Therapy
  • Multimodal Behavior Therapy
  • Multiple Therapy
  • Multiple Conjoint Psychotherapy
  • Multiple Family Therapy
  • Multiple Impact Therapy
  • Multisystemic Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Mutual Help Groups
  • Mutual Need Therapy
  • Mutual Storytelling Technique
  • Mythosynthesis
  • Naikan Psychotherapy
  • Narcoanalysis
  • Natural High Therapy
  • Negative Practice
  • Network Therapy
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming
  • Neurotone Therapy
  • New Identity Process
  • Nondirective Psychoanalysis
  • Nutrition-Based Psychotherapy
  • Object Relations Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Office Network Therapy
  • Operant Conditioning Therapy
  • Organic Process Therapy
  • Paraverbal Therapy
  • Partnership Therapy
  • Paradigmatic Psychotherapy
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
  • Parent-Focused Child Therapy
  • Past Lives Therapy
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Person-Centered Therapy
  • Personal Science
  • PET: Parent Effectiveness Training
  • PCIT: Parent Child Interaction Therapy
  • Phenomenological Psychotherapy
  • Phenomeno-Structural Psychotherapy
  • Philosophical Psychotherapy
  • Physiologic Therapy for the Neuroses
  • Philotherapy
  • Photo Counseling
  • Placebo Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Poetry Therapy
  • Positive Therapy
  • Prestige Suggestion
  • Primal Therapy
  • Primary Relationship Therapy
  • Privation Psychotherapeutic Technique
  • Problem Solving Group Therapy
  • Process Psychology
  • Programmed Success Therapy
  • Provocative Therapy
  • Psychosynthesis
  • Psychic Healing
  • Psychoanalytic Family Therapy
  • Psychoanalytic Group Therapy
  • Psychoanalytically Oriented Milieu Therapy
  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
  • Psychodrama
  • Psychoenergetic Technique
  • Psycho-lmagination Therapy
  • Psychomaterialism
  • Psychomotor Therapy
  • Psychosynthesis
  • Psychotheatrics
  • Puppet Therapy
  • Radical Psychiatry
  • Radical Therapy
  • Radix Neo-Reichian Education
  • Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy
  • Rational-Emotive Therapy
  • Rational Stage-Directed Therapy and Crisis Intervention
  • Reality Therapy
  • Realness Therapy
  • Rebirthing
  • Redecision Therapy
  • Reevaluation Counseling
  • Relationship Enhancement Therapy
  • Relaxation Training
  • Resilient Peer Treatment
  • Responsive Therapy
  • Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy
  • Reichian Orgone Therapy
  • Role-Acting Therapy
  • Roleplaying Therapy
  • Sandplay Therapy
  • Sandtray Therapy
  • Say It Again-An Active Therapy Technique
  • Selective Awareness Therapy
  • Sector Therapy
  • Self-Image Therapy
  • Self Psychotherapy
  • Self Therapy
  • Self-Puzzle: A Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tool
  • Senoi Dream Group Therapy
  • Separation Therapy
  • Shadow Therapy
  • Short-Term Anxiety-Provoking Psychotherapy
  • Short-Term Targeted Therapy
  • Sleep Therapy
  • Structured Short- Term Therapeutic Intervention
  • Soap Opera Therapy
  • Social Casework
  • Social Constructionist Family Therapy
  • Social Influence Therapy
  • Social Network Intervention Ross V. Speck
  • Social System Psychotherapy
  • Sociotherapy
  • Solution Focused Therapy
  • Somatology
  • Speech Therapy
  • Strategic Solution Focused Therapy
  • Strategic Therapy
  • Strategic Family Therapy
  • Street Psychotherapy
  • Stress Inoculation
  • Structural Family Therapy
  • Structural Integration
  • Supportive Psychotherapy
  • Supportive Care Therapy
  • Sullivanism Harry Stack Sullivan
  • Sullivan Group Psychotherapy
  • Strategic therapy
  • Structural family therapy
  • Suggestive therapy
  • Supportive psychotherapy
  • Symbolic-experiential family therapy
  • Systemic Therapy
  • T-Groups
  • Talk Therapy
  • Theme-Centered Interactional Groups
  • Thought Field Therapy
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Transactional Analysis Group Therapy
  • Transactional-Semantic Psychotherapy
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Transference-Focused Therapy
  • Transpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Triad Counseling
  • Triad Therapy
  • Triadic-based Family Therapy
  • Twenty- Four Hour Therapy
  • Vector Therapy
  • Verbal Behavior Therapy
  • Videotherapy
  • Vita-Erg Therapy
  • Voice Dialog
  • Voice Therapy
  • Wholistic Therapy
  • Will Therapy of Otto Rank
  • Writing Therapy

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barrett, Susan (2019). "From Adult Lunatic Asylums to CAMHS Community Care: the Evolution of Specialist Mental Health Care for Children and Adolescents 1948-2018". Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique, XXIV-3. XXIV (3). doi:10.4000/rfcb.4138.
  2. ^ John Stewart (2012). "The dangerous age of childhood': child guidance in Britain c.1918-1955". Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  3. ^ Midgely, N.; Kennedy, E. (2011). "Psychodynamic psychotherapy for children and adolescents: a critical review of the evidence base". Journal of Child Psychotherapy. 37 (3): 232–260. doi:10.1080/0075417X.2011.614738. S2CID 28367786.
  4. ^ Bateman, A.; Fonagy, P. (2001). "Treatment of borderline personality disorder with psychoanalytically oriented partial hospitalization: an 18-month follow-up". American Journal of Psychiatry. 158 (1): 36–42. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.1.36. PMID 11136631.
  5. ^ "Therapeutic Interventions after Abuse and Neglect - Guidance 76". National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. HM Government.
  6. ^ "Therapeutic Interventions for Moderate to Severe Depression - Guidance 28". National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. HM Government.
  7. ^ Goodyer, I. M.; Reynolds, S.; Barrett, B.; Byford, S.; Dubika, B.; Hill, J.; et al. (2017). "Cognitive behavioural therapy and short-term psychoanalytical psychotherapy versus a brief psychosocial intervention in adolescents with unipolar major depressive disorder (IMPACT): a multicentre, pragmatic, observer-blind, randomised controlled superiority trial". Lancet Psychiatry. 4 (3): 109–119. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30378-9. PMC 5285447. PMID 27914903.
  8. ^ APA Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice with Children and Adolescents (2008). Disseminating Evidence-Based Practice For Children & Adolescents: a systems approach to enhancing care. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  9. ^ Sutton, S. (2014). [Being Taken In: The Framing Relationship]. London: [Karnac].
  10. ^ Lieberman, AF (1992). "Infant-parent psychotherapy with toddlers". Development and Psychopathology. 4 (4): 559–574. doi:10.1017/s0954579400004879.
  11. ^ Lieberman, AF; Silverman, R; Pawl, JH (2000). "Infant-parent psychotherapy". In Zeanah, CH (ed.). Handbook of infant mental health (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press. p. 432. ISBN 1-59385-171-5.
  12. ^ a b Waller, Diane (April 2006). "Art Therapy for Children: How It Leads to Change". Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 11 (2): 271–282. doi:10.1177/1359104506061419. ISSN 1359-1045. PMID 17086689. S2CID 8241451.
  13. ^ a b Bosgraaf, Liesbeth; Spreen, Marinus; Pattiselanno, Kim; Hooren, Susan van (2020). "Art Therapy for Psychosocial Problems in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Narrative Review on Art Therapeutic Means and Forms of Expression, Therapist Behavior, and Supposed Mechanisms of Change". Frontiers in Psychology. 11: 584685. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.584685. ISSN 1664-1078. PMC 7578380. PMID 33132993.
  14. ^ Cohen-Yatziv, Liat; Regev, Dafna (3 July 2019). "The effectiveness and contribution of art therapy work with children in 2018 -what progress has been made so far? A systematic review". International Journal of Art Therapy. 24 (3): 100–112. doi:10.1080/17454832.2019.1574845. ISSN 1745-4832. S2CID 151138642.
  15. ^ Aguilar, Bree A. (1 September 2017). "The Efficacy of Art Therapy in Pediatric Oncology Patients: An Integrative Literature Review". Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 36: 173–178. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2017.06.015. ISSN 0882-5963. PMID 28888499. S2CID 1784960.
  16. ^ Lieneman, Corey C.; Brabson, Laurel A.; Highlander, April; Wallace, Nancy M.; McNeil, Cheryl B. (20 July 2017). "Parent–Child Interaction Therapy: current perspectives". Psychology Research and Behavior Management. 10: 239–256. doi:10.2147/prbm.s91200. PMC 5530857. PMID 28790873. Retrieved 29 April 2021.

External links[edit]