A child counselor works with children to help them become mentally and emotionally stable. The case that is examined in this essay is a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The disorder is about disruptive behaviors of children, such as difficulty in communication, aggressiveness, not obeying school or parents’ commands, etc. The child is 12 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six years old. Numerous complaints from teachers and others around him were due to his disrespectful actions towards them. He does not get well at home or in school and does not listen to anybody. The child has a lot of siblings and a family that is in a financial state of poverty. His parents do not discipline him and place the responsibility of his actions on ADHD. The child usually causes trouble when he is not monitored.
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I will use a cognitive theory of counseling to maintain the mental health of the child. The cognitive theory emphasizes an individual’s feelings and present behaviors. It is also more oriented to problem-solving rather than the past of the individual. To communicate with the child and know him better, I will apply “play therapy.” During the therapy, children are expected to play games with different toys that they enjoy. Such activity may reveal various aspects of a child’s personality and mental health. In addition, a counselor can engage more with a child, so having a connection with him. Nielsen et al. (2017) investigated that occupational therapy that includes “play, sensory, motor, and cognitive skills” have a positive impact on children with ADHD (pp. 73). When having play therapy, the child obtains all the attention of a counselor and has the ability to communicate with the adult nearby. Such a comfortable place may make the child feel safe so that he is ready for examination by a counselor.
Moreover, a study of 40 preschool and school-age children with ADHD and their parents and teachers was conducted to examine the effects of play therapy on stabilizing attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (El-Nagger et al., 2017). The study found a positive correlation between the therapy and children’s mental health. There also were significant statistical differences in children’s emotional and behavioral conditions before and after the use of play therapy sessions.
In addition to the play therapy, I suggest using therapy with the child’s parents. Parents-child interactions are shown to be effective in mitigating the disruptive behavior of children (Hosogane et al., 2018). Parents may be involved after an individual therapy session with a counselor. This is because the child may feel aggression towards his parents and be triggered by them. Therefore, careful engagement of parents in game therapy is crucial. By systematic work with parents and the child, a counselor can identify effective treatment and teach parents how to deal with their child outside of a counseling center.
To conclude, the role of a child’s counselor in maintaining the mental health of a child is vital, as he reveals problems of the child and helps him to control his emotions. Play therapy can be applied to work with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. By active interaction with a child and providing him a comfortable place, a counselor can analyze the actions of the child and suggest treatment. Moreover, there is a need to encourage parents in play therapy to have a persistent treatment.
Nielsen, S. K., Kelsch, K., & Miller, K. (2017). Occupational therapy interventions for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A systematic review. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 33(1), 70-80.
Hosogane, N., Kodaira, M., Kihara, N., Saito, K., & Kamo, T. (2018). Parent–child interaction therapy (PCIT) for young children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Japan. Annals of General Psychiatry, 17(1), 1-7.
El-Nagger, N. S., Abo-Elmagd, M. H., & Ahmed, H. I. (2017). Effect of applying play therapy on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 7(5), 104.