The psychotherapy of children and adolescents differs significantly from adults’ psychotherapy, which especially refers to the role of the therapist, the relationship and cooperation with parents, because the cooperation with parents depends on the acceptance of the therapy itself.
Therapeutic techniques are modified according to stages of child development, degree of education, which depends on the choice of techniques. The role of therapists in therapy with children and adolescents is very complex because the therapist creates security, takes responsibility for the boundaries and ethics of the process itself, and the internal psychic processes of the child and the relationship with parents are entered into the therapeutic relationship. New therapeutic relationships are made through therapy which is important for all subsequent relationships.
Given the specificity of children and adolescents, therapeutic techniques are adapted depending on the stage of development and child’s problems as well as relationships with the environment. The special weight of psychotherapy for children and young people arises from the child’s problems with motivation, reduced retrospective capacity and the difficulties of a time perspective. The particular difficulty is the preoccupation of the child’s ego defense against the therapist, which is especially emphasized in adolescents, which creates difficulties in establishing a relationship.
The program of psychotherapy for children and adolescents is based on the developmental approach of children and youth, incorporating the humanistic and integrative approach / Gestalt, TA, IA /, and Self psychology, intrasubjective theories and relations theory.
The developmental perspective is incorporated in the works of Bolby, Winnicott, Sterna, Schorea, M. Mahler, M. Klein and others.
The basic philosophy of program is based on
- The relationship of a child-parent that is most important for creating the inner psychic structure of a child and adolescent.
- An internal children’s structure that affects the environment with a tendency to repeat history and create a life script and shame.
- Self which is not an entity but a continuous process that is socially, affectively and / or structured through relationships with parents and other important persons, and shapes itself through social, economic and cultural characteristics.
- Defenses that protect children from change, partly from security, and endeavor to maintain the existing state.
- Resistance to the feelings that come from the past in the current context of the child’s life, but also points out to possible therapeutic interventions.
The basic rules of psychotherapy treatment, regardless of basic approaches, include:
- Good knowledge of development phases
- Knowing family dynamics which is significant because through it child perceives the world and itself in the world with new experiences where it transmits to all other relationships later in life
- Knowledge of other important persons in the child’s life
- With children at school age, adolescents
- Knowing the protective and risk factors