Counselors are licensed mental health providers who have expertise in physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse in children. They may work with traumatized children or adult survivors of childhood abuse. The methods the counselor uses depend on the population served.
Counselors that work with abused children typically focus on working through feelings and emotions related to their abuse. Counseling sessions usually take place in a one-on-one situation, however, if family reunification is a goal, the abused child will likely be part of family therapy. Counselors also seek to help children work through mental health issues that arise as a result of abuse, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, or somatization disorder.
Counselors like Jennifer Nahrebeski that specialize in working with victims of child abuse are adept at treating mental health conditions that result from the abusive trauma. Because she understands the scars these children carry, Jennifer’s gentle approach puts them at ease when they come to the office. She treats trauma and PTSD (death of a loved one, abuse, car accident, sex abuse, physical abuse). Child abuse is a serious problem that can affect a child’s life well into adolescence and adulthood. The importance of child abuse counseling cannot be understated. Gone untreated, victims of child abuse face many obstacles in the future. Left untreated, many victims of abuse have difficulty forming health relationships as adults.
Unfortunately, many victims of child abuse go on to have substance abuse issues, so child counselors that work with adolescents and young adults may include drug and alcohol prevention and intervention strategies as part of their therapeutic plan.
There are many types of child abuse. When people think of child abuse, they likely first think of physical abuse. Hitting, punching, and kicking are the most commonly reported types of physical abuse upon a child. Unfortunately, there are many other cases that involve emotional abuse. This type of abuse includes yelling and name calling, as well as making hurtful comments to the child.
Another type of child abuse is that of a sexual nature. Children might be forced to engage in sexual acts with another person or be photographed in a sexually explicit manner. Some child abuse involves being touched without one’s consent. Exposure to pornographic materials is considered child abuse as well.
Play therapy is often the go-to treatment for children that have been abused. Play therapy is an excellent medium for helping children to identify and process their thoughts and feelings, which can be nearly impossible for children to do so otherwise, especially those that have been abused. Essentially, the toys become the child’s words and play becomes their language, and the counselor uses this context to facilitate a corrective emotional experience.
In addition to processing difficult feelings, counselors might also use the play situation as a medium for dealing with the emotional and physical pain a child has experienced. The relaxed atmosphere, combined with the therapeutic value of play, is among the best options child abuse counselors have for working with abused children.
As an experience mental health counselor, Jennifer applies this type of therapy. She works with children, adults and families, using a soothing and encouraging approach. Sessions with children may include talk therapy, play therapy, sand therapy, therapeutic games, and more. Jennifer also addresses parent/child relationships, providing sessions to increase positive interactions in the home, as well as co-parenting concerns and/or discipline styles.
Victims of child abuse also require counseling in order to be able to work through the emotional trauma that resulted from their abuse. Learning how to trust others again often is a goal of counseling, as are improved communication skills and the ability to advocate for oneself.
The presence of one indicator alone does not necessarily mean that maltreatment has occurred. The counselor looks rather for configurations of indicators. If there are a number of indicators, the counselor has reason to suspect maltreatment, even if the child has not confided in the counselor. When abuse is suspected, the counselor is obligated, under law, to report this concern to Children’s Protective Services.
Call Counselor Jennifer for a consultation at (716) 432-3656