About Child Counseling

Children, like grown-ups, can struggle communicating their needs and emotions. As they grow, children deal with big changes – not only physical changes but also changes with academic demands and social and family challenges.

Learning to express emotions is a normal part of how children navigate these changes, but sometimes they are unable to develop healthy coping strategies. As a result, the child becomes easily frustrated, throws tantrums, or has emotional outbursts. This can lead to distress for the child and family that requires the support of a professional counselor.

Counseling is a great way for kids to learn healthy ways to communicate and manage emotions when dealing with changes experienced at school, home and social settings.

How To Know If My Child Needs Child Counseling

All children experience emotional ups and downs. But sometimes what appear to be typical growing pains evolve into more serious problems that require intervention from a counseling professional.

If your child is experiencing frequent symptoms of anger, sadness, isolation, excessive worry or fear, it may be time to speak with a counselor. We offer convenient and free phone consultations to help parents determine whether child counseling is appropriate. 

Adolescent Counseling

As they shift from childhood into adulthood, teens are faced with countless struggles. They suddenly confront challenges with social and romantic relationships, deal with bullying and body image issues, all the while attempting to keep up with academic demands.

Additionally, as teenagers drift away from being dependent on their parents, they can become reluctant in sharing problems with mom and dad. Adolescent counseling can be beneficial in helping teens understand and process emotions and work through interpersonal challenges that they do not feel comfortable discussing with their parents.

How To Know If Your Teen Needs Adolescent Counseling

If you have noticed changes in your teen daughter or son, such as isolation/withdrawal, irritability/anger, sadness, sudden changes in appetite it might be helpful to speak with one of our clinicians to see if counseling may be helpful. Although they may not tell you directly, behavioral changes indicate your teen may be struggling with something deeper that may require involvement from a professional counselor. 

About Family Counseling

Family relationships can be complex. In most families, problems are not isolated. The family is a system where one problem in a parent-child relationship can have an extensive impact on other relationships in the family.

The purpose of family counseling is to encourage an understanding and collaboration among family members in order to solve the problems of one or more individuals. For example, if a child is having emotional and behavioral outbursts, counseling will focus on the family patterns that may contribute to the child’s acting out, rather than evaluating the child’s behavior alone. As the family uncovers the source of the problem, they learn to support the child as well as other family members and work proactively to alter the conditions that contribute to the child’s problem behaviors.

How Effective is Family Counseling

Yes. Family counseling can be extremely helpful in reducing maladaptive interaction patterns between family members and even reducing seemingly isolated behavior problems in children. Our counselors are familiar with the complexities of family life and the difficulties families face when one or more family members are struggling with mental health concerns. Here at Westside we are dedicated to support and guide families to help achieve healthy family dynamics.


Child counseling involves a series of discussions between the child and pediatric counselor about personal, emotional, or social problems that lead to distress and impair one’s functioning. Child counseling helps clients identify and change behaviors and ways of thinking that have not worked well in the past.

The counseling process is in many ways, an educational experience as well as a collaborative effort between the child and pediatric counselor. The child not only learns more about him/herself, but also acquires new skills and learns to use those skills in day-to-day settings. Sometimes, counseling entails learning more about a particular condition such as depression or anxiety, by which the child is affected, so that he/she can better understand and choose the most appropriate treatment options.

Yes, information you share in child counseling sessions will be treated with strict confidentiality and is protected by state and federal laws. Information will not be disclosed to anyone outside Westside Children’s Therapy without your written permission, except in instances when such disclosure is necessary to protect you or someone else from imminent danger.

Before the first session it may be beneficial to explain that a pediatric counselor is a person who the child will play with and talk about problems they may want help solving. It’s best to keep the conversation simple and straightforward.

Depending on the child’s age, parents can share more specifics such as: “You know how you’ve been having a hard time getting along with your family? A counselor will be able to help you get along better with others and help you work out your problems.”

Having a few questions about the child counseling process answered before the first session may help ease some worries for your kiddo.

Our counselors utilize a strengths-based family approach to empower parents with effective techniques that will best help their child manage stress and big emotions. Our family-centered approach keeps parents in the loop every step of the way while supporting their child with absolute empathy and encouragement.

Westside clinicians consistently inform parents about techniques and skills learned in sessions. Most importantly, our counselors encourage and guide parents in practicing new skills at home to ensure carryover takes place in environments outside the child counseling room.

Child counseling therapy has been proven to be highly effective. Numerous scientific studies continue to show that behavioral and emotional interventions work as well if not better than medication to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. However it requires commitment and collaboration between the client and counselor. Clients must be willing to actively participate and follow through with utilizing new skills outside of counseling in order to make meaningful and long-term change.

Ideally, counseling is terminated when the problem that the client pursued counseling for becomes more manageable or is resolved. However, it requires that clients are consistent in attending sessions and most importantly that they are committed to exercising new skills in real-life settings.

Additionally the time frame will depend on the reason clients seek out counseling in the first place. Some clients enter therapy with a specific concern or area of focus. In these cases the timeline may be rapid.

In contrast, a client may seek out therapy for deeper problems such as bereavement or abuse, that can’t be resolved quickly. In these cases therapy might take months or even years to work through and move forward.

In many circumstances our clinicians utilize a cognitive-behavioral approach to counseling. This is a solution-focused method. In these cases clients may be seen once per week over the course of three to six months.

Check our current insurance list to see if your plan is in network. If your plan is in network, we will bill directly to your insurance.

Based on your plan, we can predict what your weekly costs will be before your start. If your plan is not in network, we do have self-pay rates available (please call 815-469-1500).

Above all, the main reason is our family feedback.

Every family is sent a survey at the beginning, middle, and end of their services. It asks: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to refer Westside to your friends and family?” Here are the results after over 800 responses to date:

Average Beginning Score: 9.71/10
Average Middle Score: 9.83/10
Average End Score: 9.89/10

This is why Westside is the best. And we’re never going to stop fighting to get those to 10/10.

The experience begins with a consultation between the parents of the child and the therapist. The goal is simple: to listen and understand needs. This informs the therapists on whether or not child counseling will be effective. If it is agreed that therapy will be beneficial, this meeting becomes the starting point for developing an individualized treatment plan.

Getting Started With School Consults

If your school interested is interested in collaborating, our School Support Coordinator will be more than happy to connect. To get in touch, use the form below: