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What does therapy look like for a five year old?


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My daughter has had a lot of anxiety. She's always been an anxious kid, but it has gotten worse. She comes by it honestly; both parents and two grandparents have anxiety problems. The developmental pediatrician started her on celexa. I have some real concerns about that, but I also would like to break the cycle and the self identity of "I'm afraid of everything" before harm comes from that.


We are also looking for a therapist. My psychiatrist highly recommended a psychologist for her. She does work with a lot of kids. I have a parent meeting in a couple weeks with her, but I'm wondering, what should therapy look like in a five year old? I mean, what are the expectations around privacy? I don't want to violate confidentiality, but I would like to be in on what happens, or at least details. I don't know what is expected in that regard. It seems like such a different scenario than an adolescent or even an older child.


What sorts of things should I look for or listen for when talking to her? I just don't know what they're supposed to do. The office manager said she was not a play therapist per se; she doesn't do sand trays or something like that. She said they do play board games and draw pictures. I'm not sure just talking to her is going to get anywhere. Or, at least, I haven't made any headway talking to her about her fear.

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My son is in a similar position, but we haven't started therapy yet either. He'll be five in a couple of weeks, and we've been trying to find a therapist who will deal with very young children for a few years now. Now that he'll be five, it seems a little easier! (His developmental pediatrician has also gone to bat for us, so we've got four options at the moment! Woo hoo!)


So no words of advice for you, only wanted to let you know that your not alone! :grouphug: We have been through evaluations with psychologists, and I guess I imagined therapy would be similar to that. Or similar to OT, where they talk to him and engage him in activities at the same time.


My son has a medical condition that has led to diagnoses of autism and anxiety. His anxiety manifests as OCD and he occasionally has hallucinogenic episodes. :( He's been getting speech and OT for years, has been in special ed since he was 3, and has been on anti-anxiety meds since he was hospitalized in Aug 2008.


Like you, I don't want medication to be a long term solution, but it looks like it may have to be for him. We've always felt like the psych was the missing part of his overall treatment plan, and we've looked for a long time for someone to help with the mental health aspect!


Please let me know how it goes!

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The best experience we had with a therapist was with one who did have some private one-on-one with our dc, but who recognized, most of all, that you can't really treat a kid without working with the family. This therapist also put a lot of focus on what the problems were, what practical steps dc could take to deal with it, and what we could do to help. Though we saw this therapist years ago, some things she said still come to mind and help me today in dealing with and understanding this particular dc and my others.


My disappointments with therapists included two therapists who focused on talking, soley. Talking is fine, and necessary, but you can't leave out practical strategies to help dc deal with their problems.


My worst of all experience with a mental health professional was with a psychiatrist, a supposedly excellent diagnostician, who we waited months to see. He spent a good hour talking to dd with me present but wouldn't let me give a bit of input or look at the questionaires and surveys I brought from us and from teachers. He also ignored the notes his partner therapist wrote about why she recommended us to see him in the first place. So, the result was that dd had anxiety but was dealing with it fine so he wouldn't recommend medication. Well, actually, we weren't there for the anxiety but he literally silenced me anytime I tried to tell him so. I was not a happy camper that day.

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