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Nurturing Mental Wellness in Children: The Vital Role of Pediatric Therapy

In today’s fast-paced world, children face many challenges that can impact their mental well-being. From academic pressures to social dynamics, the stressors they encounter can take a toll on their emotional health. As parents and caregivers, it’s essential to recognize the signs of mental distress in children and provide them with the necessary support to thrive.

At Carolina Therapy Connection, we understand the importance of nurturing childhood mental wellness from an early age. Our comprehensive counseling services are designed to address various issues, empowering children to develop coping mechanisms and build resilience for life’s challenges.

Understanding Childhood Mental Wellness

Childhood is a crucial period for mental development. It’s a time when children form their perceptions of the world and learn how to navigate their emotions. However, factors such as family dynamics, peer relationships, academic pressures, and societal expectations can influence their mental health.

As children grow and develop, they may encounter difficulties that affect their emotional well-being. These challenges can manifest in various ways, including:

  1. Behavioral Changes
  2. Sudden changes in behavior, such as increased irritability, withdrawal, or aggression, may indicate underlying emotional struggles.
  3. Academic Decline
  4. Difficulty concentrating, declining academic performance, or reluctance to attend school could be signs of anxiety or other mental health issues.
  5. Physical Symptoms
  6. Headaches, stomachaches, and other physical complaints without underlying medical causes may be linked to stress or emotional distress.

Recognizing these signs early on is crucial for addressing children’s mental health needs and preventing further complications.

The Role of Pediatric Therapy in Promoting Mental Wellness

Pediatric therapy plays a vital role in supporting children’s mental wellness. Our team of skilled therapy providers specializes in working with children and adolescents, providing a safe and nurturing environment for them to express their thoughts and feelings.

Through evidence-based therapeutic techniques tailored to each child’s unique needs, we help them:

  1. Develop Coping Skills
  2. Children learn healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges.
  3. Build Resilience
  4. Children develop resilience to bounce back from setbacks and adversities by fostering a sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy.
  5. Improve Communication
  6. Effective communication is key to expressing emotions and resolving conflicts. Our therapists help children improve their communication skills, both verbally and non-verbally.
  7. Strengthen Relationships

Healthy relationships are fundamental to children’s well-being. We work with families to improve communication and strengthen familial bonds.

Promoting Childhood Mental Wellness for a Brighter Future

At Carolina Therapy Connection, we believe every child deserves the opportunity to thrive emotionally and socially. Promoting mental wellness from an early age lays the foundation for healthier, happier futures.

If you’re concerned about your child’s emotional well-being or want to learn more about our counseling services, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced pediatric therapists.

Together, we can empower children to overcome obstacles, embrace their strengths, and live fulfilling lives. Let’s work together to nurture their mental wellness and unlock their full potential.

 

Our NEW Mental Wellness and Counseling Services

Mental Wellness and Counseling Services at Carolina Therapy Connection

Carolina Therapy Connection is SO excited to begin providing Mental Wellness and Counseling Services! Do you ever feel like everyday is similar to jumping on the hamster wheel?! You expend all your energy day after day and it leaves you feeling empty, anxious, and overwhelmed. Whether you are a parent/caregiver, teen trying to navigate the world, or just someone that feels anxious and overloaded by life’s expectations, our licensed clinicians are here to come alongside you and help you to reach your fullest potential. We believe through the power of relationship and the therapeutic alliance, you possess the tools to navigate all of the road blocks and stepping stones in your life. Our hope is that you walk away from each session feeling heard and valued and the skills you are able to tap into will help alleviate some of those feelings of overwhelm.

What clinical approaches are used within our Mental Wellness and Counseling services?

Our services cover a wide range of interventions aimed at improving a child, teen, and family’s overall emotional well-being. These include:

Client-Centered Therapy

The concept of client centered therapy might seem obvious — after all, almost all kinds of humanistic counseling essentially focus on the client. However, what sets this type of therapy apart, is that it centers the client in a more positive and inclusive manner, providing deeper insight into the adversity they are facing, while also maximizing their ability to resolve it on their own. Many professionals use this ‘talk therapy’ as a support process that encourages positive change within the client. Client centered therapy was developed originally in the early 1930s with the ideology that no other person’s ideas or advice could be as valid as the particular individual’s experience, and that exploring those experiences in a supportive, nonjudgemental environment is necessary in order to achieve a positive therapy experience. It emphasizes that the client’s experience is just as valid as a professional’s insight, and therefore the two parties in the therapeutic relationship should be viewed as equals.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CPT) is an evidenced-based psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications. (American Psychological Association, 2017).

CBT is based on several core principles, including: 

  1. Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
  2. Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
  3. People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.

CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns by:

  1. Learning to recognize one’s thoughts that create problems, and to reevaluate them in light of reality.
  2. Gaining a better understanding of our behavior and emotions.
  3. Using problem solving skills to cope with various situations.
  4. Learning to develop a greater sense and empowerment of our own abilities.

CBT treatment also usually involves efforts to change behavioral patterns. These strategies might include:

  1. Facing fears rather than avoiding them.
  2. Using role play to prepare for real-life situations.
  3. Learning to calm and relax one’s mind and body.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DPT is a research-based practice that uses the skills and strategies balanced in terms of acceptance and change (University of Washington, Dialectical Behavior Therapy). The four skills modules include two sets of acceptance-oriented skills (mindfulness and distress tolerance) and two sets of change-oriented skills (emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness).

  • Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
  • Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not to change it
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
  • Emotion Regulation: how to decrease vulnerability to painful emotions and change emotions that you want to change

Mindfulness Therapy 

Mindfulness therapy incorporates awareness of thoughts, emotions, feelings, surroundings, and situations into a person’s everyday life. It involves conversations with professionals that help a person develop greater awareness of their thoughts and the world around them. This increased awareness helps them avoid destructive or automatic responses or habits.

Who can receive Mental Wellness and Counseling services?

We will be accepting ALL AGES (not just kiddos!) for these services – so we encourage family and caregiver counseling too! You do not have to be a current or previous patient at Carolina Therapy Connection to receive these services.

Infant & Toddlers (Birth – 5 years old)

  • Attachment issues
  • Tantrums & Aggression
  • Excessive fear, worry or sadness
  • Does not respond to comfort when in distress
  • Lack of interest in peers

Early Childhood (6 years old – 12 years old)

  • Bullying
  • Social anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Pressures of academia
  • Life changes (new schools, location or traumatic events)
  • Changes in family structure and dynamics
  • Physical aggression, defiance and lack of empathy for others

Teens, Adolescents & Young Adults (13 years old – 20+ years old)

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Difficulty sleeping and completing daily routine
  • Irritability and impulse control

Families & Caregivers

  • Anxiety & depression common among members of the household
  • Difficulty with finding parenting strategies
  • Constant arguments
  • Grief and loss
  • Recent or past traumatic events
  • Adjustments to life changes (i.e. divorce, new members of the household, changes in location)

Who will provide our Mental Wellness and Counseling services?

Meghan Respess Licensed Clinical Social Worker Carolina Therapy Connection

 

Everyone meet Meghan Respess, MSW, LCSW – Carolina Therapy Connection’s FIRST Licensed Clinical Social Worker!

Meghan has 11 years of professional work experience in the mental wellness and counseling field. Meghan graduated from East Carolina University in 2006 with a Family and Community Services degree. She worked in community mental health with both children and adults for several years before returning to East Carolina University to obtain a Masters in Social Work. She graduated in 2011 and then pursued her LCSW. She has experience helping clients with stress and anxiety, parenting issues, motivation, self esteem, confidence, & depression. She also works with children and adults who deal with anger and impulse control. Meghan strives to create an open and safe environment where thoughts and feelings can be shared without fear of judgment.

How will services be provided and what insurance is accepted?

Our Mental Wellness and Counseling services will be provided virtually (tele-therapy platform) OR in-person at our Greenville clinic location. It will consist of individual or family counseling. We will only be accepting Private Insurance and Private Pay only for now. We are in the process of getting credentialed with Medicaid for our counseling services and will keep you updated on when that insurance option is available!

How do I start get started with Mental Wellness and Counseling services?

Getting started is EASY! If you are interested in our mental wellness and counseling services, call or email us to get started today! Our referral coordinator will help answer any questions you may have and make the process as easy as possible for you!

References

APA Div. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology). (2017, July). What is cognitive behavioral therapy? American Psychological Association. Retrieved February 7, 2023, from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral

American Psychiatric Association (1998). Gold Award: Integrating dialectical behavior therapy into a community mental health program. Psychiatric Services, 49(10). 1338–1340.

University of Washington. (n.d.). Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Behavioral Research Therapy Clinics. Retrieved February 7, 2023, from https://depts.washington.edu/uwbrtc/about-us/dialectical-behavior-therapy/

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