Therapy with preteens looks a little bit different.
Therapy with preteens looks a little bit different. They are kind of, well as it says in the name, in between times: between being a child and being a youth. They don't usually admit that they like to play but they want to be in an area where there's toys so they could play if they wanted to. So usually with preteens we meet them in one of our two playrooms.
The first session is just between you (the caregiver) and your pre-teen’s therapist. We will go over a lot of the background, family history symptoms, and these kind of things that are usually better discussed without the kids there.
The second session will be between the three of you: you as their caregiver, the preteen and your therapist. and then we'll talk briefly about what counseling is about, what your hopes are for counseling, and talk briefly about confidentiality and such things.
We use a client centered approach, meaning that I will take the preteens’ lead on what they want to talk about, what they don't want to talk about, what they would like to do. if they don’t know what they’d like to do, we will suggest a few things. Ice breakers, things like chess or Uno, or pick up sticks games that they know that are easy to engage in and even have a conversation while playing it. and just as with any other therapy form the first few sessions will be a lot focused on getting to know each other. And then more often than not “just” having that relationship built with another adult already is healing in and of itself. That feeling of being seen as their own individual as the only person is often very huge in their healing process.
Preteens are literally caught between the more independent teenage years and the dependent childhood years
They are struggling between the "cool years" and the "playful years"
Often like the comfort of being in a room with toys while wanting to express themselves more with words.
Play-therapy is a lot of fun as well as effective
Pre-teens often need something to do while talking