Everyone deals with mental health just like physical health. Mental health refers to mental well-being which include emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), refers to “conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior.” All do not experience a mental illness but within a course of a lifetime individuals will struggle or have a challenge regarding their mental health. For example, traumatic events can affect mental health, whether someone has a mental illness or not.
The National Institute of Mental Health, defines childhood trauma as, “the experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.”
The most common causes of childhood traumas include:
- Chaos or dysfunction in the house (such as domestic violence, parent/caregiver with a mental illness, substance abuse or incarcerated)
- Death of a loved one
- Abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual)
- Frequent/intense arguments between parents/caregivers
- Serious medical condition
- Separation from parent/caregiver
- Community violence
A parent cannot receive actual content of what’s reported in sessions, unless the adolescent/teen (12 and older) gives the therapist permission.
Children will benefit the most from having a trusted individual work with them who will not tell their parents what they say and how they feel without their consent. If there is information shared that reflects a danger to themselves or someone else, your child’s therapist will inform you as necessary.
One of our ultimate goals in counseling is to increase communication among family members. We will encourage your child to share their thoughts and feelings with you in treatment but will not be forced.
Validating means to recognize someone’s feelings.
It shows adolescents/teens that they are being seen, heard and understood. It also teaches them that feeling and expressing emotions are okay and natural. It also helps them to feel safe and more willing to communicate their feelings.